Emerald schoolboy returns home after cancer battle
INSTEAD of waiting for the final school bell of the year to ring, Ping Chomkiattikun was ringing his own special bell.
It was the bell that symbolised the end of the 12-year-old's chemotherapy treatment.
In November last year, Ping was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma - cancer of the connective tissues.
Since then, his life has been limited to the inside of the Royal Children's Hospital in Brisbane where he has been receiving treatment.
But last month, Ping arrived back in Emerald with his mother Pancharee, just in time for Christmas.
Pancharee said she was glad to be out of the hospital, and back home with her family.
"It has been difficult for us all, especially emotionally," she said.
"(We've had to) stay away from my two-year-old daughter and my family, and Ping has been missing his little sister and brother and friends.
"His life is only hospital and back to the room - we don't know anyone... only the two of us."
After 12 months of chemotherapy, and surgery to remove half of his hand and two fingers, Ping is back and excited to see his friends.
But he couldn't leave without completing a ritual in the children's chemotherapy room - signing the wall filled with the names of other child cancer fighters, and ringing that bell.