The Wish of a Lifetime

As some of you may know, Lori’s family was recently blessed with a Make-a-Wish Trip. Lori (and her Husband Ed’s) middle daughter, Cailyn, was diagnosed with ALL - Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia - when she was 7. This is a little bit about how special their Make-a-Wish trip was and how awesome the organization is from Lori’s perspective. 

Beautiful Cailyn and Lori, waiting for a diagnosis in August 2016.

Beautiful Cailyn and Lori, waiting for a diagnosis in August 2016.

From our very first meeting with Vickie and Alyssa from Make-a-Wish Southern Alberta we felt the excitement. They were so excited and wanting to help with anything to give our family a little something to look forward to.

Throughout Cailyn's treatment, while at home and in hospital, we watched the Food Network and any cooking show that we could find. My kids fell in love with Gordon Ramsay. They've memorized every show, every contestant, every challenge. When Vicki asked Cailyn, “What's the thing that you would want to do more than anything?”,  Cailyn said, “Make Beef Wellington with Gordon Ramsay.”  My oldest daughter Ariana, Cailyn, and our youngest, Grayson, came up with this wish together. I thought it sounded absolutely crazy and there's no way that they could make that happen. 

Turns out, Make-a-Wish can literally make your dreams come true!

We put the wish on hold for almost two years while we dealt with a different diagnosis and treatment for our oldest daughter, Ariana. Vickie waited patiently until we were ready to pack up and go. Then, with less than a weeks notice, we were on a plane  to LA.  All the details were taken care of. It’s shocking how much time, energy, money and effort goes into one wish for one little person; how many people were in the background, that I will never get to meet, that were personally invested in Cailyn and our family.


And then Cailyn’s dream came true! We found ourselves on the set of MasterChef!  Not only did we meet the one and only Gordon Ramsay, we had the privilege of meeting the dozens of people that work in the wings to make such a huge production run smoothly. It’s amazing to see first-hand something that you are so familiar with on TV and how it compares in real life. 

*Sidenote* - I have MAJOR  pantry envy. Seriously. Forget watching filming and meeting all the cool people. I NEED that pantry. There’s actually three pantries and three kitchens and soooo many chefs. Food heaven. But I digress.

And then…. The Beef Wellington. Standing in the MasterChef kitchen receiving instruction from Gordon Ramsay. They were soaking in the moment. Watching them listen intently and follow instructions. He called them by their names, nicknames even. So caring and familiar, hugging and kissing them. He gave them so much care and attention. The person that they admire so much and was so much a part of our time at home. He made her laugh and gave my kids something to do together while Cailyn was in treatment. It was surreal for all of us to now experience him in real life too. 

Beef Wellington made by Chef Cailyn with assistance from Chef Gordon Ramsay.

Beef Wellington made by Chef Cailyn with assistance from Chef Gordon Ramsay.

Unfortunately, we are unable to post pictures of the Chef here. So as much as I want to post every picture I have of the wonderful person he is, we don't have permission. But take my word for it, he is AWESOME. (and when we do get permission, I will probably blow up your Instagram newsfeed...)

Thank you for all of it Make-a-Wish Southern Alberta. Thank you. You've made my little girl so happy, and we were given the opportunity to celebrate Cailyn's health at the end of it all. 

Lori Nikkel