William J. Bullis was born June 5th, 1993. He came into this world at 11 1/2 lbs. and 22 1/2 inches. We all said he came out ready to go to college.
Will’s interest in cooking was evident as a young child. As a 3 year old he loved to play with his older sister’s fisher-price kitchen. He would play “cooking” for hours. When his friends came over he would offer them the dish he prepared on the toy kitchen. By the time Will was in Middle School he started enjoying cooking shows on the Food Network, and enjoyed helping in the kitchen.
In 8th grade Will was running/playing with friends at the church picnic at San Bruno Park. While engaging in a game of chasing friends with ice, his foot got caught in a root above the ground and he broke his ankle. It was very painful. We had hoped that the pain would dissipate with the healing of the bones, but as time went on and the bones healed the pain remained. He was unable to put any weight on his foot. He got around school and everywhere on a 3 wheeled scooter. He even graduated middle school going across the stage on his scooter.
In High School, Will missed more and more school due to his pain. After extensive testing on Will’s ankle it was revealed that he had developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), which caused him to have swelling, redness and constant pain in his leg. Due to this severe pain he missed a great deal of school and was in jeopardy of not passing and graduating with his class. During a special meeting with Will’s counselors and teachers Will expressed his interest in cooking and he was enrolled in the culinary courses at Mills High School.
Will enjoyed his culinary classes so much that he would share the food he made with his friends after class and started cooking at home. As Will’s level of ability improved so did his grades, confidence and self-esteem.
Will also started being able to walk with two crutches, then one crutch to a cane. I heard a story from one of his friends that he was so comfortable that they would see him playing golf with his cane. Two days before his death, Will and I went to a meeting with his counselor who commended him on how much his grades had improved and that he would now be able to graduate with his class. He was ecstatic!
On September 9th, 2010, Will died along with his father and grandmother in the San Bruno Explosion and Fire. It wasn’t until after his death that I found out from a friend that he wanted to attend Culinary School after graduation.
I feel that by providing a scholarship in his memory I will not only honor his wishes, but will also help other young adults who share Will’s passion for culinary arts.