This SNL Star Was A Make-A-Wish Kid

Photo: Dave Allocca/StarPix/REX/Shutterstock.
Vanessa Bayer is known for her hilarious characters on Saturday Night Live, but her relationship with comedy as a coping method may surprise you. As a freshman in high school, she was diagnosed with leukemia. The news shocked her and her family, but they found a way to get through it all: comedy.

Bayer says that she "wasn't scared" because of her family's sense of humor about it all. "My dad is a really funny guy and we would make jokes about my leukemia," the 35-year-old tells People. "When my friends would come over, we would joke about it, too. It’s sort of messed up out of context, but it put everybody at ease. Being sick is the reason I went into comedy.”

Following her diagnosis, she underwent intense chemotherapy and radiation treatments. As a silver lining, she went on a special family vacation after being contacted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The organization took Bayer and her family to Hawaii in 1999. "It was amazing,” she tells the magazine. “They took care of everything.” They even set up her family in the presidential suite.

Bayer is now cancer-free, but she maintains a relationship with the organization by welcoming other children and their families at NBC's SNL studios to give tours to other Wish kids. Of the experience, Bayer says, "It’s very emotional and full circle for me."
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