A cafe owner in Illinois who crafts fresh, homemade soups with love is spreading kindness by providing them to a chemotherapy patient who lives nearby for free.
Dionesotes was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis several years ago, according to a GoFundMe campaign raising money for his treatment. He has also been undergoing chemotherapy for a year, Tribune Chicago station WGN-TV reported.
More than a year ago, Dionesotes messaged Beristain on Facebook, telling him how much he enjoyed his vegan soup and how he needed the nutrition to aid with his healthcare, Beristain said.
Beristain, 49, knew that Dionesotes' mother went out of her way to come to his cafe, and that she couldn't do it all the time, so he decided to help the family out.
"I just knew that his mom was doing a big sacrifice to go and try and get the soup to her son," Beristain said.
Beristain asked for Dionesotes' address and found that he lived less than 15 minutes away from the restaurant. During his first surprise delivery, Dionesotes was "shocked," Beristain said.
The chef was "also in shock" because he didn't realize how much Dionesotes was suffering. When he arrived, Dionesotes was in a wheelchair, and he had recently broken his leg so it was swollen. Beristain spent some time getting to know Dionesotes, his wife and their two young children and made the decision to keep coming back.
"I told him that I would take care of him," Beristain said. "He's really trying to collect some money to get a procedure that could save his life. So, I told him to stop wasting money on soup."
Ever since, Beristain has been returning to Dionesotes' home up to four times a week with soup in hand. Dionesotes loves all the flavors of soup, which Beristain makes daily from scratch using seasonal ingredients, including caramelized onions and garlic and natural broths. He does not follow a recipe, choosing instead to use his chef's instincts to concoct his healthful creations.
On Facebook, Dionesotes described Beristain as a "good friend," describing the conversations they have on his visits as "priceless."
Beristain said he inherited his altruistic nature from his parents, who were "both very much givers and very loving." They would never hesitate to help him and his siblings, and while still living in Mexico, would take cancer patients into their home, Beristain said.
"It's the right thing to do for another human being," he said.
Beristain, his wife and four children -- ages 6 to 20 -- will be moving to his hometown in Queretaro, Mexico, to be closer to family as his father's health declines, leaving a void in the community as he closes down his restaurant.
But, since Dionesotes is looking to receive stem cell treatment about three hours away in Puebla, Mexico, according to the GoFundMe page, Beristain plans to visit him during treatment and perhaps bring him some soup as well, he said.