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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Celebrity rejects Make-a-Wish child

 
Ina Garten, chef and host of the Food Network show “Barefoot Contessa,” has been taking heat for twice rejecting a child’s Make-a-Wish request. The child’s wish was to meet Garten because he would watch her show from his sickbed. Various blogs, articles and other media state Garten rejected the request because of scheduling conflicts.
This infuriated readers all over the place, including me, but as I’ve mulled it over and further read about the situation, I have a slightly different opinion. I think this is a case of public relations gone wrong and poor decisions made; perhaps Ina Garten is not a heartless wench (hopefully).
I watch “Barefoot Contessa” all the time. One thing I’ve noticed about her is she is obviously very wealthy. She lives in the Hamptons, drives a nice car and is constantly cooking and purchasing gourmet foods.
That being said, many sources say she is very generous to charities and has been called a friend of the Make-a-Wish foundation.
She rejected the request of a 6-year-old boy with acute lymphoblastic leukemia to meet her twice: once due to a book release tour and once due to scheduling conflicts. It’s hard for me not to think, “You mean you couldn’t take a day off from your pristine, high-class life to meet with a child dying from cancer who wants to see you?”
It’s hard for me to comprehend why someone wouldn’t stop what he or she is doing to meet with a child who simply wanted to meet him or her. All she would have to do is set aside time. She has the financial stability to travel to him.
I’ve been involved with the Make-a-Wish foundation for about six years. Make-a-Wish is an organization that partners with different organizations like school groups and community service groups.
It works to meet the financial needs and make all the arrangements to grant a terminally ill child’s wish. I’ve seen wishes granted for children to go to Disney World, London or to simply get a really nice dollhouse (it was a crazy, awesome dollhouse, I might add).
The organization grants hundreds of wishes each year, and most of them require a lot of time and money.
To grant a wish that involves a famous celebrity such as Garten would obviously have to include a lot of planning, organization, scheduling and cooperation.
I’m very passionate about Make-a-Wish, and I just don’t see how someone could turn down a wish request in the first place, but I do understand celebrities live very busy lives. As harsh as it sounds, famous people can’t meet every request they encounter.
But after being rejected by Garten, the little boy said he would wait to meet her. I feel like that’s where she (or her agent or whoever it is scheduling things for her) made a big mistake. 


Eventually, the media would catch wind of her double rejection (which it did), and make her out to be a monster. Garten finally agreed to meet with him, but the Make-A-Wish foundation moved to the little boy’s second wish request, which was to swim with dolphins. There is a rule against granting extra wishes, but in light of the circumstances, I’m not sure how it will turn out. 


Anyway, the damage is done. Anyone who reads news about her will hear she rejected a terminally ill child’s wish to meet her. Twice. Regardless of how good her intentions were, it’s going to be very hard to live that down.
Mary Chase Breedlove is a sophomore majoring in communication. She can be contacted at [email protected]

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Celebrity rejects Make-a-Wish child