Friday, May 9, 2008

No scam

We received an email from Bruce Travis, accusing us of running a scam. Read on to learn Bruce's concerns and our reply:

From: Bruce Travis []
Sent: Friday, May 09, 2008 10:50 AM
To: thien
Subject: Re: Disabled Baby Charity

Who are you trying to kid?You should get real. This is not how people go about raising funds for injured children. And there is no surgical procedure on the planet that costs $150'000 in Viet Nam. I suspect that you people are scam artists.

To:, thien , MaiAnh Tran ,
Subject: helping thien nhan

Dear Bruce,

While there are many scams out there, this isn’t one of them. If you read through our blog at you’ll discover the extent of this child’s injuries. His story was covered extensively by the local and foreign press. See a recent AFP story here:

Our fundraising target of $150,000 is an estimate at best. A hospital in Thailand has quoted $5,000 (excluding doctor fees, which the surgeons have offered to waive) for the dilation of his urethra. We are now waiting to hear back from a hospital in Boston, which has expertise in this field. But the urethral dilation is just the first, simple step to recovery. So far, no doctors have been willing to even guess at the cost of rebuilding a sensate, functional penis. We have based our fundraising goal on the cost of sex change surgery (female to male). Thien Nhan’s case is obviously more complicated than these procedures.

Given that phallic reconstruction remains groundbreaking, our goal of $150,000 seems conservative. As for doing it in Vietnam, there's no way. While American researchers have grown rabbit penis cells, according to this 2006 article -- -- trials in humans remain “a long way off”. And the world’s first (and only) penis transplant took place in 2006; see

If you, or anyone you know, has any expertise in genital reconstruction, hormone replacement or prosthetics, we’d love your input.


Elka Ray & Tran Mai Anh


DerekD said...

I understand Bruce's concern about scam on internet. But I hope he will read on many blogs and articles on Thien Nhan. He will find out this is for real. Thien Nhan is a real baby, a real person. He needs a lot of helps for us adults.

Bruce, why dont you contribute to this good cause. Look at pictures of Thien Nhan.

Thien Nhan said...

We also understand Bruce's concerns, but wish that he'd emailed us for further details rather than rushing to accuse us of dishonesty. We are totally open to receiving comments, advice and queries!

pwh said...

In my humble opinion, to avoid such accusations of fraud in future, you should post all the expenditures of the funds raised and aim at achieving maximum transparency.

Yeu Tre said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yeu Tre said...

In cases of being accused for things that we don't do, I often go back to this poem:

Written By Mother Theresa

People are often unreasonable, illogical,
and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, People may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some
false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone
could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;

It was never between you and them anyway

Anonymous said...

Bruce, Why don't you come to Vietnam to see Thien Nhan, so you could find out is he is real?

Anonymous said...

I think this is the first time Bruce knows about this story. He hasn't known how much we the vietnamese mothers cried for Thien Nhan's injury. For his pains & disavantages- even the amount of $150000 can't make up enough. Bruce, let come and see if you can do something for this little angle than sitting there in suspicion.