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14 October, 2021

May origami butterflies surround you

A ROUGH childhood and a cancer diagnosis in her later life never stopped Herberton local Lucy McIvor from pursuing her passion in the unique art of origami.

By Ellie Fink

Stage 3B Ovarian cancer survivor Lucy McIvor has found peace in her origami creations and created them to give back to the community

During chemotherapy, the now 49 year old would often experience nausea and anxiety and doing origami was a way to keep her calm. 

Now freshly discharged from the Oncology department after five years of ongoing treatment, Lucy sells her creations to the public, hoping their new owners will feel an “emotional connection” with her art. 

Her passion for origami stems from her grandfather, who used to teach her origami whenever they were together. 

“I started doing origami as a kid, my grandfather taught me and he inspired me to get into it,” she said. 

“Primarily at the start I really just liked the paper, all the different patterns, colours and tones and then I kind of just kept doing it as relaxation. 

“When I’m doing origami it is so simple but each fold, from the first until the last, you have to concentrate and get it perfect so it's awesome for mindfulness.” 

Throughout Lucy’s journey, she said that over time she felt more aware and more connected with the people around her, giving her the will power to get through her treatment. 

“When I had cancer I felt really aware of how many people were involved in my journey, from the doctors and nurses to the cashier at Woolies,” she said. 

“Prior to that time, I had difficult circumstances growing up and I didn’t really feel that connected with the world, but through the experience with cancer I became aware of all the people who became involved in my day to day life.

“I started to feel like I really wanted to make stuff for other people and have something for people as an expression of love with an emotional connection with it.” 

She leaves with a message for women who have a “gut feeling” to get checked for reproductive cancer early, as it may save your life as it did hers. 

“With my origami I go by gut feeling. I ask myself what am I going to make today, a swan or a heart and what colours and tones am I going to use,” she said.

“My gut has been important in my journey with ovarian cancer and I wouldn’t have been diagnosed in time and if I hadn't followed my gut. 

“I had been having pain for a while and saw some people about it and I was incredibly lucky that various people conspired and helped me to get the diagnosis.” 

Now recovering from a long five years in treatment, Lucy will continue creating her origami hearts, swans and butterflies from home and selling them at Artistree Gallery in Yungaburra.

Every one of Lucy’s origami gifts come with a special message with a different variation: “Fierce and powerful is the swan’s smooth glide across the water, you are enfolded in my heart, may (origami) butterflies surround you.”

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