Gordon Ramsay visits NJ girl with cancer at school, donates $10K
BEACHWOOD — A shore teen battling cancer who met her idol Chef Gordon Ramsay didn't think it was really going to happen.
When the father of Kallista Flores learned that Ramsay was in the shore area this week to film an episode of his Fox show "24 Hours to Hell and Back" at Caneda's White Rooster on Fischer Boulevard in Toms River he utilized social media to get the celebrity chef's attention to meet his daughter.
Ramsay paid a visit to her school, Intermediate South in Beachwood, on Wednesday and caught Flores completely by surprise during music class, she told WOBM's Shawn Michaels and Sue Moll on Thursday morning.
Ramsay also made a $10,000 donation to her GoFundMe page to help with her expenses.
The 13-year-old is living with B-ALL leukemia and has been receiving treatments at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Kallista said she was "charged up" by the visit and ready to power through her final year of treatments.
"My mind just stopped. I know my dad said he would die trying (to arrange a meeting) but quite honestly I didn't think it would really happen," Kallista said, adding that Ramsay shut down the set to make the visit.
Kallista said her teachers were like "suction cups to the windows" when they spotted Ramsay at the school with her father. He also posed for pictures for "everyone who wanted one" while he was there.
"My family and I were beyond words. $10,000 is going to carry us a long way," Kallista said.
She said that Ramsay's appearance and temperament is nothing like the person you see on television.
"He was so amazing. When he's on his shows he acts all mean and tough but he is just the sweetest man," Kallista said. Ramsay also gave Kallista an autographed cardboard cutout of himself.
"In my cardboard cutouts he is not portrayed as a very big guy but he is a super tall guy. Those cardboard cutouts do not do him justice," Kallista said. Her goal is to have a Ramsay cutout in every room of her house.
Kallista said she would like to try a career in culinary arts but will need a lot of help to meet that goal.
"I burn scrambled eggs, so it's a process," Kallista said.
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