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Food Network star Ina Garten, who stars in Barefoot Contessa, has agreed to meet a 6-year-old cancer-stricken boy she snubbed twice.
Enzo Pereda, who has leukemia, requested a cooking session with the chef through the Make-a-Wish Foundation. She turned down the first request in 2010, and the second earlier this month, according to a blog post by Pereda’s mother.
After Garten came under fire online for twice rejecting his plea, she changed her mind Monday.
“Ina became aware of Enzo’s story this weekend and will be calling him today,” a spokesperson for Garten says in a statement to ABCNews.com. “She looks forward to inviting him to spend some time with her at the Food Network studios.”
“Ina receives approximately 100 requests a month to support charitable causes that deeply affect peoples’ lives,” the statement continues. “She contributes both personally and financially on a regular basis to numerous causes, including to Make-A-Wish Foundation. Sadly, it’s of course not possible to do them all. Throughout her life, Ina has contributed generously to all kinds of important efforts and she will continue to do so.”
Pereda was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia diagnosis three years ago, and often watches Garten while lying in bed.
Wrote his mom in a blog: “I felt terrible for him, he has been unwavering in his desire to meet her for 3 years and despite many attempts to get him to pick a 2nd wish or change his mind he would not. “Last year Ina gave a ‘soft no’ supposedly because she had a 10 month book tour and they called and asked him what he wanted to do and he said ‘I will wait’ and he did.”
When she told her son Garten rejected him, Pereda said, “Why doesn’t she want to meet me?” But despite the snub, she says: “He STILL loves ‘The Contessa.'”
A spokesperson for the foundation told TMZ: “From time to time, planning for wishes doesn’t turn out as originally envisioned, despite people’s best intentions and efforts throughout the wish-granting process.”
Make-A-Wish called Garten a “good friend” of the charity.
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