Jameen Chong had always aspired to be a journalist covering issues pertaining to travel and war, but tragedy struck when the twin ravages of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and a stroke left her in a wheelchair and uncommunicative at the age of 15.
Yesterday, in celebration of her 18th birthday, Jameen was treated to an exclusive tour of Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) Print Centre in Jurong Port Road, along with her mother, one of her two older sisters and their helper.
During the visit, which was conceived by Make-A-Wish Foundation in collaboration with SPH, the family got to see Chinese newspapers Lianhe Wanbao and Shin Min Daily News on the presses.
The tour, conducted by the centre's senior production manager (engineering), Mr Willie Koo, lasted about 40 minutes and covered key steps in the printing process.
These included the creation of printing plates, ink transfer from plate to paper, and sorting of printed newspapers into bundles for delivery to news agents islandwide.
Afterwards, Jameen was treated to a surprise celebration, where she was showered with gifts such as a customised The New Paper polo shirt embroidered with her name and plush toys.
Jameen's sister, Ms Janice Chong, 21, told reporters: "She grew up watching the news."
Ms Chong said Jameen, who loved to write and read widely, had expressed interest in reporting at natural disaster zones whenever these were depicted in news reports.
Her mother, Ms Cecilia Ng, likened the overhead conveyor belts to a dragon, and said it would have been Jameen's favourite segment of the tour.
Ms Judy Lim, the foundation's chief executive officer, echoed the family's sentiments when she said: "With invaluable corporate wish partners like SPH, Make-A-Wish hopes to gain the community's support to help us grant wishes for children battling life-threatening medical conditions and offer them hope, joy and strength when they need it most."
This is the second wish granted this year by the charity organisation, which provides memorable experiences based on the wishes of children suffering from severe illness.
To refer a child to the foundation or to provide any assistance to the fulfilment of wishes, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org