Anthony Bourdain Quietly Helped Boy Fighting Leukemia Fulfill Wish To Eat Through Spain


Anthony Bourdain — famous chef, traveler, and writer — was a master storyteller. His way with words drew people in, making fans feel connected to his world, even though they’d never met.

In the wake of his untimely death on June 8, fans from around the world are sharing their own stories about Bourdain. One of the most heartfelt stories centered around a young boy who battled leukemia.

As he sat through chemotherapy treatments, Evan Piña-White, 11 at the time, watched Anthony Bourdain’s television shows. He was a devoted fan, binge-watching his way through each episode.

“That was how Evan filled his time at the hospital,” said Brian Miller with Make-A-Wish Missouri. “He fell in love with Anthony Bourdain and everything about his show.”

In 2010, Evan got to meet Bourdain at a book signing event in St. Louis. Evan was hopeful he would beat his disease, and asked Bourdain where he should travel to eat the best seafood once his health had improved.

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According to Miller, Bourdain told the boy to eat his way through Spain. And in 2012, Evan was healthy enough to make the trip, compliments of the Make-A-Wish organization.

Quietly, Bourdain worked with reporter Evan Benn from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to get in touch with Evan’s family. Bourdain sent young Evan a list of the best restaurants to visit while in Spain.

On Twitter, Benn explained that Bourdain wanted to keep his involvement undetected. “He set the kid up at the best restaurants & helped make the trip incredible,” Benn wrote.

“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,” 13-year-old Evan told the Post-Dispatch before his departure to Barcelona.

“He’s someone I can look up to.”

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Evan and his family were deeply saddened to hear of Bourdain’s passing. Evan’s mother, Mary White, said her son’s friendship with Bourdain was “amazing.”

“Anthony’s relationship with Evan is a true revelation of his character,” White said in a statement. “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.”

Adult Evan is now living cancer-free and is attending college on a full scholarship.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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