KOTA KINABALU: A four-year-old cancer patient who showed a fondness for origami animals during her stay in the hospital was given the chance to see the creatures in real life at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park here.
The one-day trip was organised for Ivy Steffanny Ching by the Likas Women and Children’s Hospital and a volunteer group.
Ivy’s father Ching Chee Boon, 35, said his daughter has been battling bone cancer since April and had her right leg amputated last month.
“What we initially thought was bone fracture due to a minor fall early this year turned out to be cancerous.
“The condition of her right calf worsened and experts advised to have it removed to prevent cancer cells from spreading to other parts of her body,” he said, adding that the surgery also allowed Ivy to have better quality of life.
The trip to the wildlife park, the first for Ivy, gave her the chance to see various animals in the flesh, including baby elephants, bear cats, snakes and macaw birds, among others.
Although Ivy shrieked and held on to her father when the animals came closer to them, he said she looked happy throughout the outing.
Ivy’s mother, 3-year-old brother and grandmother went along for the trip too, where the girl also celebrated her birthday, with a cake and a doll as present, at the J Borneo Native village nearby
Meanwhile, the volunteer group’s leader, Farid Hii, said that their role is to accompany children under palliative care and give emotional support to the children’s caregivers.
“The church group members, known as Love and Care, were shocked when we heard about the need to amputate Ivy’s leg, as she is still young.
“But we are glad that she has pulled through and seems to be very cheerful,” he said, adding that seeing Ivy in good spirit made the team more motivated to continue serving terminally ill children.