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Baking a difference, a cake at a time
13 March 2014

Since June this year, Madam Sapiah has been contributing her talent and time by baking birthday cakes for children under the Star PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) programme.From Barney the Dinosaur to a dainty doll the little birthday girl could not bear to eat, these cakes are tailored to each child by Madam Sapiah with the help of Geraldine Tan, Medical Social Worker for Star PALS.

As a result, the children never fail to be delighted when they lay eyes on their personalised cakes. One of the children, a young fencer, had given her an immediate ‘thumbs up’ when he saw the fencers on his cake, recalled Madam Sapiah with a smile.

Beyond their colourful fondant figures, Madam Sapiah also invests much care and thought into the design of each cake. For example, she once chose to bake a truffle cake for a child who experiences difficulty biting, giving him the chance to enjoy the cake by licking it instead.

‘I feel happiness especially when I see parents treasure moments with their children,’ said Madam Sapiah when asked what motivates her to volunteer her talent this way.

Star PALS (Paediatric Advanced Life Support), an initiative by HCA Hospice Care, is a paediatrics palliative care service that provides holistic home care for patients aged 19 years and below, and extends support to their families and caregivers.

Patients may suffer from congenital and neurological diseases, to childhood cancers. Multidisciplinary care is provided by doctors, nurses, medical social workers, counsellors and allied health specialists like art therapists.

Besides the core group of medical professionals, Star PALS also actively engages the help of trained respite caregivers, known as Medi-Minders.

For more information, visit:www.starpals.sg

Coming from Madam Sapiah, these heartfelt words hold a world of meaning.Her own son Faridz had been part of the Star PALS programme, but passed on last June at the age of 14. It was because of him that she had initially started baking, as she needed a profession that would allow her to stay home to care for him.

‘After Faridz passed on, I just felt empty,’ Madam Sapiah shared. ‘I needed to go out to do something to help others.’

She offered her help to the schools Faridz had previously attended – Rainbow Centre and Metta School – before approaching Dr Chong Poh Heng, Programme Director of Star PALS, who suggested that she bake cakes for the Star PALS children.

What motivates her “I feel happiness especially when i see parents treasure moments with their children.”

On watching the children receive the cakes, Madam Sapiah said, ‘When I saw the children so happy, the emptiness went away.’Madam Sapiah is now also training to become a Medi-Minder – a member of the Star PALS staff who provides respite at home for caregivers. By taking care of children in the programme, they provide a chance for caregivers get some quality time for themselves.

‘You can feel love in the food you eat,’ said Madam Sapiah, explaining her passion for cooking and baking. Through her baking, the love she has shared with these families has helped to perfect these annual celebrations of life between parent and child – certainly creating moments to treasure.

Satisfaction guaranteed:
One of the children, a young fencer, had given an immediate ‘thumbs up’ when he saw the fencers on his cake.