Emily enjoys 'delicious' surprise cake

By Alison King

A Rotorua girl with a rare condition has marked the start of her teenage years with a triple-tiered cake and will soon jet overseas on holiday.

Emily Bassett, 13, was the latest Rotorua recipient of an Operation Sugar cake - a three-tiered vanilla cake decorated with coloured and shaped fondant.

Emily was born with congenital central hypoventilation syndrome and for the first five years of her life breathed through a tracheotomy. At the time of her birth there were around 180 other cases worldwide. Now there are around three or four others in New Zealand.

She needs 24-hour supervision in case she stops breathing and has no autonomic functions - she has cardiac issue and no tears.

Emily was nominated by her sister Carolyn who lives in Australia. Her mum Karen only found out when she needed to sign a form.

"Otherwise it would have been a big surprise for me, too," she said.

"I didn't know this organisation existed, the cake was amazing. We've never received anything like this before."

Emily loved it - she didn't want to cut it but she did in the end because there were people there to eat it.

She said the cake was a big hit. "It tasted absolutely delicious. Emily's not a cake eater and I tried to give her brother a big chunk but she said no, she liked this cake and she would eat it."

To top off her 13th birthday, which was on Friday and her party on Saturday, Emily was recently selected by the Make A Wish Foundation to go on a holiday to the Gold Coast with her family.

The cake was baked by volunteer cake-maker Gail Teichmann. "It's a nice thing to be able to do," she said.

"I have a little bit of talent and it's nice to be able to help and do something nice for other people.

"When Emily's mum first saw it she burst into tears."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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