As news of Anthony Bourdain's shocking death spread online, so did memories from his life. One heartwarming anecdote reveals how the Parts Unknown host secretly helped make an 11-year-old child who was fighting cancer realize his dreams.
Miami Indulge editor-in-chief Evan Benn shared details of the inspiring story on Twitter Friday.
According to PEOPLE, it all began back in 2010, when Benn was covering a book tour stop of Bourdain's at Missouri's Fox Theatre for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. There, he said Bourdain first met Evan Piña-White, who CNN reports was a middle school student diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia.
Piña-White became a superfan of the culinary star while watching his Travel Channel show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations during chemotherapy treatments.
"That was how Evan filled his time at the hospital," Brian Miller of Make-A-Wish Missouri, told CNN. "He fell in love with Anthony Bourdain and everything about his show."
At the book signing, Piña-White met his idol and asked Bourdain where he should got at once he was officially in remission, Benn wrote on Twitter.
"Bourdain didn't hesitate: Spain," he said.
Days later, Benn got a call from Bourdain's assistant. The chef "wanted to help send this kid to Spain and make it the time of his life," Benn explained on Twitter.
With one condition: Bourdain didn't want the boy or his family to know that he was involved.
And so, with help from Make-A-Wish Missouri, Piña-White was able to travel to Barcelona in 2012. There, Bourdain "set the kid up at the best restaurants and helped make the trip incredible," Benn wrote.
"He was special," the journalist said of Bourdain.
At the time, Piña-White said he was only able to push through his treatment because of the celebrity chef and his show.
"He may not realize it, but he inspires a lot of people to live life a little more, to get off the couch and do something," Evan told the Post-Dispatch before heading out with his parents and two younger brothers on the cruise to Spain, which also stopped in Italy and France. "He's someone I can look up to."
On Friday, Piña-White's mom Mary White told CNN that her son is now in college on a full scholarship and "doing fantastic."
"Anthony's relationship with Evan is a true revelation of his character," White said. "His friendship with Evan was amazing. He was a very good man and a very good friend. His generosity and spirit will truly be missed."2comments
She added that the family still has the book Bourdain autographed for her son all those years ago.
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