On Sunday, 5 May, MCK organized an outing to Ragunan Zoo for children from Dharmais cancer hospital. As in previous years, the visit was timed to coincide with the annual 5 kilometer Jakarta Free Spirit (JFS)-Wintermar Run at the zoo. After the race, the children were welcomed by the race organisers, and two of the group – 13-year-old Ara (left) and 16-year-old Abiyyu (right) were invited to say a few words on behalf of the children. Both boys were diagnosed with cancer in 2005 and have had to undergo long and difficult treatment. Ara is still undergoing treatment, and is due to have his 15th operation in June, while Abiyyu successfully completed his treatment a few years ago. Ara and Abiyyu, together with MCK volunteers Avi and Julie, then accepted a cheque for MCK from PT Wintermar Offshore Marine TbK, presented by PT Wintermar Director Lawrence Lee.
As well as Ara and Abiyyu, 21 other children and their families joined the MCK outing this year. Most of them are currently undergoing treatment at Dharmais, though also in the group were a few youngsters who have successfully completed their treatment, including 13-year-old Putri, 15-year-old Kartika, and Adhika Nauful.
After chatting to some of the JFS-Wintermar organizers and runners, MCK volunteers Julie and Tessa took the group to the Schmutzer Primate Centre. The children particularly enjoyed watching the owa jawa and macaques swinging around in their enclosures, and some of the group also got a close up view of a large male gorilla who wandered over to the water’s edge near where we were standing.
After a pleasant hour or so walking through the primate centre, it was time to head back to the hospital and on the way home the children had some lunch and most of them (and their parents!) fell asleep til we reached our destination.
We ended the outing by giving a stuffed animal and a goodie bag to each of the children, as well as providing animals and goodie bags for all the children in the cancer wards who had been unable to join us this year.
As always, it was a very special day, and MCK is very grateful to everyone who makes our zoo outings possible. This year we would like to say a special thank you to PT Wintermar Offshore Marine TbK Managing Director Sugiman Layanto and Director Nely Layanto, and Riena Blokvoort, JFSs Race Director.
We would also like to thank Dharmais nurses Ria, Ica, Titi (pictured below, with MCK volunteers Tessa and Julie) and Taufik for giving up their free time to come with us this year to ensure that medical help was on hand in case any of the children fell ill, though happily their medical skills were not needed. Our sincere thanks, too, to Pita Kuning volunteers Erwin and Tini who also joined the outing and who did a wonderful job of coordinating with the families before, during and after the outing.