Local transplant patient's wish to meet celebrity chef comes true

Rae Rae Reinhardt meets Emeril Lagasse on GMA

SAN DIEGO - A special wish was granted for a local girl who has been beating the odds ever since birth.

Thirteen years ago, just a couple months after she was born, Raeann Reinhardt underwent two liver transplants and also an open heart surgery at Rady Children's Hospital, where she receives most of her ongoing care today.

Now, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, her story of inspiration and survival is being seen and heard around the nation.

Rae Rae, as she likes to be called, openly shared with 10News her scars from her surgeries 13 years ago. As a newborn, she underwent a life-saving liver transplant, thanks to a donor -- her father, Mark.
this is her as a newborn, shortly after a life saving liver transplant... thanks to her dad mark... her donor.

"Overall, she's doing remarkably well … we were hours from losing her," said Mark Reinhardt.

Rae Rae wasn't expected to survive, but with her perseverance, positive attitude, along with her family's unwavering support, she's now stronger than ever.

"It's been from birth to today and it's going to be ongoing, but again you have a lot of support … she's the greatest kid ever," said Rae Rae's mother, Allison.

Rae Rae loves to cook, and she said during her many trips to the hospital throughout her young life, she began to love chef Emeril Lagasse. She dreamt of one day meeting him in person.

"We kind of developed this screen-to-person relationship that was kind of hard to break because I watched him all the time when I was in the hospital," Rae Rae said.

Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Rae Rae made her wish and last week, it came true. She and her family were flown to New York to tape a segment on her life -- a story that aired Friday on ABC's Good Morning America.

She had no idea until she got there that she would get to cook with Lagasse in person.

"When I opened the door, I did not know he was going to be behind it. I was like, 'Oh my God.' It was so cool, like really, I had the time of my life," said Rae Rae.

You can click here to watch Rae Rae's appearance on GMA.

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