“Nine-Year-Old Cancer Patient’s Mermaid Dream Comes True Thanks to Make-A-Wish Malaysia”

Source: Free Malaysian Today

Image Free Malaysian Today

SUBANG JAYA: Nine-year-old Ayra Medina Fizrullah, who is battling stage four cancer, had one special dream – to become a mermaid princess.

Diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare nerve tissue cancer, at just six years old, Ayra spent countless days in the hospital. But this past weekend, thanks to Make-A-Wish Malaysia, she experienced the magic and joy of childhood.

Since 2010, Make-A-Wish Malaysia has been granting life-changing experiences to critically ill children. On May 19, they celebrated their 1,000th wish with grand celebrations dedicated to Ayra.

At a magical event themed “Pearl of Hope,” the Surf Beach at Sunway Lagoon transformed into Ayra’s underwater playground, where she lived out her dream of swimming with mermaids.

Speaking with FMT Lifestyle, Ayra’s father, Muhammad Fizrullah, shared that her fascination with mermaids began during her toughest days in the hospital, watching Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” repeatedly.

“It’s quite boring for a child to be in the hospital. You watch the same shows, and do the same activities,” he said, adding that Ayra latched onto mermaids during this time.

“She has a huge collection of mermaid dolls and everything related to mermaids, like clothes and shoes.”

Image Free Malaysian Today

Fizrullah, who has two other children, admitted that when one family member is ill, it affects the entire family. He often felt helpless.

“She would say, ‘I want to go to the beach, I want to play,’ but we couldn’t do anything for her as she was too sick.”

Make-A-Wish, founded in 1980 in the US, began with the story of a seven-year-old boy with leukaemia who wished to become a police officer. This inspired a global movement, granting over 500,000 wishes in nearly 50 countries, including Malaysia.

The organisation collaborates with hospitals nationwide to identify potential Make-A-Wish kids. When they heard Ayra’s story, they knew they had to make her mermaid dream come true.

CEO Irene Tan, who has helped grant over 800 wishes in Malaysia, spoke about this heartwarming moment with FMT Lifestyle.

“Today we attracted a large segment of the public to join us, to let Ayra know that many people support her. Even though her battle is not over, we are all here for her,” Tan said.

The day began with Ayra arriving at Sunway Lagoon in Subang Jaya, hand in hand with real-life princess Tengku Zatashah Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah. After being crowned a mermaid princess in front of a cheering crowd, Ayra donned her mermaid tail and red hair, spending hours swimming with fellow mermaids.

The fun included activities like face painting, mermaid hairstyling, and colorful cupcakes.

Highlighting the essence of their mission, Tan said that allowing children to decide their own wishes empowers them.

“Ayra has been asking us all week, ‘What’s happening tomorrow? What am I going to do at Sunway Lagoon?’ You can see this confidence.” Ayra even took swimming lessons to prepare for her big day as a mermaid.

Tan noted that while having a wish granted is crucial for the child, it’s equally important for the parents.

“Even if it’s just for a week or two before the wish day, the family leaves behind the pain, the trauma, and the sadness.” With Ayra’s cancer now in remission, the entire family is hopeful for her future.

Celebrating their 1,000th wish, Tan shared that each wish has been special. “It’s the stories that move me the most, whether it’s a child who wants a bicycle, or a wish as big as this,” she said, referring to Ayra’s mermaid wish.

With ongoing support and donations from Malaysians, Make-A-Wish continues its mission, aiming to fulfill thousands more wishes and create lasting memories for children in need.

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