Gene was born with a very rare insulin disorder called Rabson-Mendenhall Syndrome; it is so rare, in fact, that there are only eight known cases worldwide. Because of this condition, Gene produces 100 times more insulin than normal and his insulin receptors do not work – something that will eventually shut his body down and severely shorten his lifespan. Gene already endures twice daily injections, but he is also part of a trial study to determine possible treatments for the syndrome, as there is very little known about it at this time.
For his wish, Gene wanted to meet his hero, Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro. Gene and his family were flown to New York and taken in a limousine to New Jersey, where Gene would finally meet Buddy Valastro himself. As soon as Gene walked in the door, Buddy was right there to greet him.
“For them [at the bakery], it was all about Gene,” said Gene’s mother. “They were all so welcoming and Buddy was incredible.”
Gene and his family were given a tour of the bakery and the gift shop and Gene even got the chance to sit down and learn some tips for decorating cakes from the Cake Boss, which thrilled him to no end. Gene even got to impress Buddy and the other bakers with his own knowledge of baking cakes and pastries!
Gene also made great friends in Buddy and his team of bakers, including Next Great Baker second season winner, Marissa Lopez. Buddy presented Gene with one of his own chef coats and gave Gene free reign to pick whatever he wanted in the gift shop to take home with him.
“It was even more than I would’ve thought,” said Gene of his day with the Cake Boss. “I would have been fine with just meeting him and shaking his hand, but this was even better.”