newspaper on Sunday joined to bring Mid-Autumn festivity to cancer-struck children at a Ho Chi Minh City hospital.
More than 100 poor patients from the Blood Transfusion and Hematology Hospital received moon cakes and VND2 million (US$94) of cash from Thanh Nien and local property firm Novaland. Some had the cakes for the first time in their life.
They were also entertained with songs and games by the young staffs from the newspaper.
Vietnamese people usually hold lantern parades and moon cake feasts the night before the Mid-Autumn festival peaks, which this year was Monday.
At 8:30 a.m., the children and their parents started to gather at the examination area of the hospital, many having to bring along the pole to hang bottles of medicine being transfused into their veins.
Truong Viet Hai, the father of Truong Khanh Toan from Tan Binh District, said: “He won’t stay in his room. He insisted on coming down here.”
Hai said Toan has gone through seven chemotherapy sessions this year to treat acute lymphocytic leukemia, which starts from white blood cells called lymphocytes in the bone marrow.
The boy still has five more sessions ahead, which will cost tens of thousands of dollars in total.
Nguyen Thi My Le from the Mekong Delta’s An Giang Province was not much in festive mood as holding her 22-month-old daughter with leukemia.
“She was admitted in around January and doctors said treatment will cost around VND300 million (US$14,100) a year. I don’t know how to find that money.”
The gifted cash at least gave Nguyen Thi Diem Phuong from the delta’s Long An Province a relief over expenses in the next month for her sick sons 2 and 7 years old.
Although the Mid-Autumn festival is usually treated as a kids’ event, there were also gifts for patients in their 20s on Sunday.
A boy at Ho Chi Minh City Blood Transfusion and Hematology Hospital is attached with tubes as he joins a Mid-Autumn program held with Thanh Nien newspaper on September 7, 2014. Photo: Diep Duc Minh
Their blood diseases make many of them look like kids anyway.
Nguyen Van Minh Den, 20, from the delta’s Vinh Long Province was born with coagulation disorder has been under treatment since his 18th month.
He’s also as happy as the younger kids.
“For 20 years, this is the first time I’m gifted a big box of moon cakes,” Ven said.
“My hometown is a remote area and I never had a chance to taste moon cakes. I will give the money to my mom to pay the treatment fee and I will bring this box of cakes home to treat my grandmother and my whole family,” he said.
More Mid-Autumns to come
Doctor Huynh Nghia, head of the pediatrics department at the hospital, joined the programs to share good news about the patients’ treatment.
Nghia said more than 90 percent of the children at his faculty suffered malignant blood cancer five years ago, and now 75-80 percent of them are still alive.
“We are using the latest regimens,” he said, guaranteeing that their treatment is 90 percent as effective as that in Singapore.
“We always try to win the life back to the children.
“And this festival program gives them more hope.”