Daniela Delgado is just like any other 8 year old girl. She goes to school, loves reading and participating in running club, and spending time with her family.
But Daniel is also extraordinary. She and her family make beautiful birthday cakes for kids who are dealing with hardships. She hand delivers them to the birthday boy or girl and sings them “Happy Birthday.” All while fighting her own battle.
Daniela took some time out of baking and running and reading to answer a few questions for OperationalizeBeauty.
(Warning: you may experience renewed feelings of hope for our future after reading this interview.)
Who she is: Daniela Delgado from Daniela’s Little Wish
What she does: Bake birthday cakes at no cost for kids with life threatening illnesses or disabilities and kids suffering a sad situation in their lives.
Where she does it: Stamford, Connecticut, but I travel all around Connecticut to deliver my cakes and now I am starting a project to deliver cake toppers to other states (sadly not the cakes, I cannot send them).
I am 8 years old and I am from Stamford, CT. I do not have siblings. I live with my parents, both are immigrants from Colombia (my mom) and Mexico (my dad) and I am so proud to call myself Colombian-Mexican-American. Like a normal girl I play with my dolls, I love reading books (it is my passion, too) and do exercise (I am in a running club to be healthy). I have a beautiful 3 pound of “hair” yorkie and I love to camp. I love nature and animals.
My mom always said that I am very mature for my age and I agree! I help my parents not to worry about me. I am never mean to anybody and I am very respectful to others and especially adults (I love to talk with them). My parents are raising me well, teaching me good values and morals.
I love to help others. I am so happy with myself!!
P.S I am a little disorganized but I am working on that!!
What is Von Willebrand and how does it affect you?
I have a health condition called Severe von Willebrand Disease Type 1. It is a condition that can cause extended or excessive bleeding. The condition is most often inherited (my mom has it too) and it is a deficiency in our impairment of a protein called von Willebrand factor, an important component in your blood-clotting process. In general, it takes longer for people with von Willebrand disease to form clots and stop bleeding when they’re cut.
I live a normal life. I just have to be very careful not to hit my head, my stomach, or my inner arms. I have to avoid contact sports and stay away from heights of more than 8 feet. I always carry with me special medication that could save my life in case of minor and big accidents. My school and my classmates have to know about my condition and avoid rough play with me. I feel special because I have a nurse in school that takes care of me and the secretary of my school, Patti, always takes care of my minor boo-boos and calls my mom about the incident. I am having nose bleeding episodes without a reason and my mom taught me how calm I have to be, lay down, pinch my nose in a special place, take my medicine and rest for a while. I always wear a medical bracelet with my condition and it is good because in case of accidents doctors and paramedics know what to do. My body is changing, so I can expect any effect related with my condition. I do not feel shy or different to anybody, I just have to be careful with myself.
Tell me a little about Daniela’s Little Wish. When did you start DLW? What inspired you to start? What exactly do you do?
Well, I started this community group when I was just 4 years old. My mom and dad were making a cake and I raised my magic wand (spatula) and wished that I could make cakes for kids suffering in this world with sickness, disabilities, domestic violence and any situation that makes them feel sad or different.
Thanks to my parents’ support we are baking cakes for a lot of kids, I am donating cakes for non profit organizations special celebrations: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and more. I am teaching kids with low income families how decorate cupcakes, cake-pops and more during school breaks, and baking my cakes and decorating them for kids with severe illnesses and disabilities. I am donating cakes or cupcakes to events for fundraising events for kids with cancer.
I am going to start being an advocate for blood disorders and I am receiving an award for my youth leadership from a special company dedicated to treating people with hemophilia and they made a donation to my cause. My community group is on the website of The Connecticut Hemophilia Society. Latin newspapers and magazines have written articles about my community service.
I hope some day more kids in other states follow my steps, my cause, my point of view, and decide help me bake cakes for other kids.
How do you find families to help?
I have a Facebook page called Daniela’s Little Wish where I am write about my group. I send message to my FB friends asking if they know kids that maybe wants my cakes. When we are out shopping or having fun in the park and I see a kid with any condition I ask my mom if we could go and talk with their parents about my group and if they want to be added to my wish list. Friends of mothers with kids with severe illnesses contact me and ask if they can suggest kids for a cake.
Where did you learn to bake and decorate so well?
I am not that good as my mom and dad of course! I am learning from them. They are amazing in what they do.
I am watching them and helping them with the cakes and I am learning every day. I know one day I will be able to make a cake myself. At this moment and because I am only 8 years old, my parents help me a lot with the cakes. I know how to level, how to fill and frost a cake, I know how to roll and cover a cake with fondant and how to make fondant. But like I said, they teach me and I follow their directions.They are my support.
What makes you feel beautiful/When do you feel most beautiful?
Life makes me feel beautiful. When I help somebody that needs any kind of help and when I give my cakes to kids. When do I feel even more beautiful? l when I encourage myself to do something that challenges me–even if it is difficult and even if it takes several tries. In that moment, I feel amazingly beautiful.
You are an inspiration to others– but what inspires you?
My parents. They work so hard for me. They want to give me a beautiful future with an amazing present! They are super nice to others, too. Always they are doing a good thing for somebody else. If we are in the car and they see a women walking in the street, they offer her a ride. If we are in the hospital and they see that someone is having trouble with the language, they help with the translation. If someone is sick, they bring lunch to them. I am seeing my parents helping elders with their shopping carts, lifting bags for them, helping them cross the street. And with animals its the same– we give milk to stray cats, we put seeds for birds in our front yard, and carrots for other beautiful creatures. The list is very long that is why they are my inspiration!!
Who are some of your role models? Who would you love to meet one day?
One, my parents.
I am reading about Malala Yousafzai and I think she is amazing. I want to meet her.
I wish I could meet Ann Frank too, if she was still alive.
What is one of your most memorable experiences with a kiddo or family that you have made a cake for?
I think every time I bring a cake for a kid is the most memorable experience. I can’t say another thing. Every family, every kid– their stories are full of love, pain, and hope. They are opening their doors to me, to my parents, and they are letting me be part of their kid’s birthdays, letting me be a small part of their moment of happiness. All of them are memorable for me.
The kids and their parents are teaching us how to be strong, how to be more united, even with the most sad experience they always open their arms to me, they let me be close to their treasures, their kids.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A Scientist. I love science. I want to discover something amazing and leave a legacy. Funny thing, I want to still be making cakes for kids and maybe my nickname will be “The cake scientist girl!” LOL!!
What are some of your favorite books, movies, or artists?
My passion is reading. I read at least one book a week, sometimes two. I’m reading biographies for kids like Who is Jane Goodall, Albert Einstein, Ann Frank, Amelia Earhart, Nelson Mandela, Helen Keller, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Park, King Tut, and more. I also love Spirit Animals, The book of Good and Evil.
I love watching comedy movies and movies for kids with my parents.
I like Leonardo DiVinci so much!
I am passionate for ancient Greek culture.
I like music, too. My family and friends say that I have a nice voice, but I am shy about singing in front people…maybe one day I will do it.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Greece! I want to be where amazing history happened.
If you could tell your future self one thing, what would it be?
Do not give up!! Never!!
If you could tell other girls one thing, what would it be?
Love yourself, respect yourself, and value yourself; and after that you will respect and understand every human being.
Daniela was recently featured in an article of LatinColors Magazine and is looking forward to educating people about bleeding disorders, such as Von Willebrand, as a Youth Advocate.
Make sure to show Daniela some love on her Facebook page.
She is a reminder of what beauty looks like and how even the smallest hands can make a big difference.