Difference Makers: Millbrae Teen Knits Challenge To Help

A 15-year-old cancer survivor is using her wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation to raise awareness for a Bay Area hospital by starting a knitting challenge.

Natalie Yeung, of Millbrae, was diagnosed with lymphoma and faced a grueling series of uncomfortable and painful treatments. During that time, Natalie found comfort in two things: the caring staff at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and a hobby she picked up to pass the time.

"I was so bored at home because I couldn’t go to school, so I found a knitting set that my dad’s sister gave me and I just started learning it," she told KCBS Radio.

When Natalie learned she would be granted a wish from Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area, she made the heartfelt choice to give back.

"I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for helping people," she said.

Natalie is hoping to raise awareness for the hospital’s Social Services Fund for Families, which helps support children and their families as they navigate life changes. She’s asking people to participate by knitting or crocheting hats for teens.

Natalie 2

"I wanted to help knit, so I can be a little bit of sunshine in their day while they’re going through such a tough time," she said.

Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area CEO Betsy Biern said in a time of uncertainty, Natalie’s wish is truly inspiring.

"For her to think well beyond her own needs, think of other families and kids and wanting to do something to support them, I just think it’s extraordinary," Biern said.

Biern said many wishes that involve travel have been put on hold due to the COVID-19 crisis. For Natalie, that wasn’t even option.​

"The other thing I love about it is we’ve got a lot of us who are at home looking for other things to do and other crafts to take on," she said. "It’s a neat invitation for other people to participate in this."

To help make Natalie’s wish come true, send knitted hats to Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area in Oakland and make sure to use the hashtag #KnittingWithNatalie on social media.

If you know someone who is working to keep us safe during the COVID-19 crisis and would like to nominate them for KCBS Radio "Difference Makers", email us here.