The UK branch of the children’s charity has granted a landmark wish to nine-year-old Ben Harnwell.
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. So it came as no surprise when he asked the genies at the foundation if he could be a chef for the day.
Ben, from Rosyth, travelled by limousine to Le Bistro Beaumartin in Glasgow, where he was met by 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.”
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, who rely on public donations.