Free cakes for 32 mums of kids with special needs on Mother's Day, online expressions of gratitude

Chel Sie's mother, Madam Chan Fui Lee (right), received a free cake and appreciation pack this Mother's Day.
Chel Sie's mother, Madam Chan Fui Lee (right), received a free cake and appreciation pack this Mother's Day.PHOTO: COURTESY OF MADAM CHAN FUI LEE

SINGAPORE - Chel Sie was just over a year old when she was diagnosed with a rare chromosome disorder, which had caused part of chromosome 18 to be deleted.

Later on, she would also be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Chel Sie's mother, Madam Chan Fui Lee, is one of 32 "super mums" who received a free cake and appreciation pack this Mother's Day, as part of an initiative by Be Kind SG, a group which aims to raise the visibility of communities and causes which are rarely in the spotlight.

The group worked together with Friends of ASD Families, a Singapore-based Facebook community page, to identify the mums of children with ASD.

The cakes were baked by Metta Cafe, which provides training to youth with special needs, and delivered on Friday and Saturday (May 8 and 9).

Madam Chan said it was difficult to accept Chel Sie's condition at first, but she came to terms with it eventually.

"We don't have a choice what kind of child we have, but we have a choice whether we want to accept the fact and do our best to care for her," said Madam Chan, 52. She and her husband, a 50-year-old software consultant, have another daughter aged 19.

Chel Sie is now 17 but still has the developmental age of a pre-schooler. She is highly dependent on her family for her daily routines, added Madam Chan.

She said receiving the cake showed that people empathise with parents like her and it was comforting to be called a "super mum" rather than a "bad mum". In the past, others have looked at her with disapproval when her child acted out in public.


Madam Chan said it was difficult to accept Chel Sie's condition at first, but she came to terms with it eventually. PHOTO: 
COURTESY OF MADAM CHAN FUI LEE
 

"Besides having challenges with our own kids, (parents of children with special needs) also have to take in how society looks at us and doesn't understand us, especially if our children have invisible disabilities," said Madam Chan.

The cake comes in time for a double celebration for the family, as it is Madam Chan's husband's birthday on Saturday.

 
 

Be Kind SG's founder, Ms Sherry Soon, said she understood that children with special needs would be struggling during this period as their routines have been disrupted.

"This is an extremely stressful period, not only for children and youth with special needs, but also their caregivers. Hence, we came up with this Mother's Day initiative to show some encouragement to the 'super mums'," said Ms Soon.

Twenty-six anonymous donors - including some who are mothers themselves - sponsored the 32 cakes, which cost $855. Delivery was partially subsidised by Metta Cafe.

For many, this is a special Mother's Day, as it falls within the circuit breaker period.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that for mothers working from home, the distinction between work and home has blurred as they multitask between different roles at home while doing their regular jobs.

"To all mothers, take heart that your efforts are deeply appreciated and that you are loved and cherished, even if it sometimes doesn't feel like it. May you enjoy this special day with your loved ones," said Mr Lee.

The People Action Party's women MPs put together a one-minute video to thank mothers in Singapore for the love, resilience and hope they inspire in Singaporeans.

 
 
 

The video, posted on Manpower Minister Josephine Teo's Facebook page on Saturday (May 9), acknowledged that for many who do not live with their mothers or grandmothers, celebrations will have to wait.

"But saying 'I love you' is something we can do anytime. Perhaps now, more than ever, is that time," it said.

The Families for Life council, whose vision is to build strong and resilient families, is putting up an online concert titled Homemade for Mums on its Facebook page at 8pm on Sunday.

It will include Mother's Day dedications read out by celebrities among other segments.