A Scottish schoolboy battling leukaemia had his dream come true after he was made chef for the day at a top Glasgow restaurant.
Nine-year-old Ben Harnwell, from Rosyth in Fife, asked for the opportunity through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and was thrilled when he was granted the charity’s landmark 100,000th wish. After being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2011, Ben became interested in all things food, and spent much of his time in hospital watching cooking programmes.
The youngster travelled by limousine to Le Bistro Beaumartin in Glasgow, where he was met by award-winning head chef, Andrew Stott.
Andrew presented Ben with his very own chef outfit and the pair hit it off right away – Ben’s mum Michelle described them as “two peas in a pod” – and the youngster spent the afternoon making a special food buffet for his family, which included pizza, steak, snails and frogs’ legs.
Ben had to have three years of cancer treatment which included intensive chemotherapy, platelets, steroids and blood transfusions.
He put on a lot of weight, lost his hair and for a period of time used a wheelchair – even now he can’t run like he did before.
His mum Michelle said: “Ben lost a lot of confidence during his treatment, which was the saddest thing. However, the fact that he can stand up and say he went to a restaurant to be a chef makes him feel special and important.
“Make-A-Wish touch the hearts of children that are going through things other people may never understand; they give children confidence, smiles and happiness. A wish is more than that though – it is about independence and achieving something, which is what Ben has done.
A wish isn’t something you get every day, which makes it very special. We have wonderful memories to look back on.”
A spokeswoman from the foundation said: “There are currently 20,000 children and young people in the UK fighting a life-threatening condition and over 1,000 of them will turn to Make-A-Wish this year.
“We want to grant a wish to every eligible child, but can’t do that without the generosity of the public. Make-A-Wish receives no government funding – so every donation really does count.”