Embracing Life Despite Cancer

loading Alicia is pictured here with her sister: “I’m immensely grateful for what my family has done for me because not only am I putting my life on hold, I’m pressing pause on theirs as well.”

At 17, Alicia Ong was excitedly on the precipice of adulthood when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), or in her words “the good sort of cancer”. She had recently moved to KL on scholarship to pursue an IB diploma programme, and was savouring every bit of her independence. “I was ‘adulting’ – doing my own laundry, going to the bank. I even had my first date planned!” Four months in, however, her health took a scary turn. Ong started waking up with chronic nosebleeds and excruciating body aches. “I couldn’t carry my schoolbag and I’d faint in school on ...

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