Yuen Ka-mei, a young baker, taught herself to bake at age 13. When she was diagnosed with leukemia at 16, she found baking to be therapeutic in between chemotherapy treatments. Ka-mei said, “It is very gratifying to see others enjoying my dishes. When I first started baking, I just searched recipes on the internet. My main inspiration was that I liked eating dessert. Sweet things make me happy and I wanted to share this happiness with my family.”
When describing her experience with her illness, she said, “I was so sad and I felt my world was coming to an end. I would describe it like the cold war; I was the US and leukemia was the Soviet Union. But I overcame it eventually. It was two years of treatment and I had to take time off school; it was so boring. I was just at home or in hospital.”
During her medical journey, she was introduced to Make-A-Wish and began her Wish Journey. Ka-mei chose to travel to France to fulfill her wish to learn pastry making at Le Cordon Bleu. She said, “I want to learn the traditional cooking skills. Many dessert chefs come from France – most of the famous ones have started there.” Ka-mei traveled with her sister to Paris. A critical illness effects the entire family - including siblings. Her wish brought her family closer together and reunited them through her greatest source of happiness.
Through her wish experience, Ka-mei was inspired to explore her passions and received the strength she needed to get through her treatments. Ka-mei’s wish experience provided her hope and optimism when she needed it the most. Ka-mei said, “This opportunity was my motivation and strength to get through the surgery and treatment!”