Lunar New Year 2020
I want to take the opportunity of this New Year to share with you a wonderful story of Thanh Bach’s recovery.
I first met Thanh Bach in August 2012 when she was about 9 months old during a site visit of Bridging Hope’s elder program in Phan Thiet. She bore a distinguishable lump on her left cheek. Within a short time, the lump had grown immensely from the size of a cop ball to that of a baseball. With an inadequate income and no source of healthcare support, I knew that if the child’s condition would be left untreated she could be put in serious danger. With the help of volunteers and friends, we were able to coordinate a trip for her to see Dr. Williams in Hanoi for a medical examination. Since the tumor was too early for surgery, Dr. Williams recommended to simply wait and to continue her treatments at the Children Hospital in Saigon.
In the spring of 2018, I revisited Thanh Bach. She was now almost 7 years old. When asked about the surgical plan, her mother said that the hospital kept encouraging them to wait. I couldn’t help but wonder whether they were making her wait longer than necessary due to their poverty and inability to pay. At this point the child appeared to be suffering both physically and mentally from the tumor. In addition to physical pain and discomfort, Thanh Bach had quitted school because of being tormentedby her peers.
I shared with Fr. Toai, director of MaiTam Program for HIV’s patients in Saigon, Thanh Bach’s condition. With the help of his staff, we were able to arrange for Thanh Bach to receive surgical treatment at one hospital in Saigon. Miraculously, the surgery was very successful and completed in June 2018.
Thankfully, the work on Thanh Bach’s involved many hearts and hands. All of these efforts came together to form a miracle that brought together people two worlds apart in an effort to change one young girl’s life forever.
Thanh Bach’s story is clearly an example of the power of people working together for a worthy cause. Yes, it takes a village or maybe it takes a world coming together to raise a child!
May your heart be overflowing with New Year blessings! May the New Year bless us with wholeness and peace! And may your Valentine’s Day be filled with LOVE
Sen Nguyen, OSF
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