Sunday, June 29, 2008

6 Weeks To Go...

Last week, Thien Nhan got his new, longer leg at VietCot, and is now back to his daily lessons learning to perfect his balance. His grandma (left) and his Uncle Hoan oversee his walking sessions.
Only 6 weeks remain until Thien Nhan's trip to Dartmouth, NH and Chicago, USA, where he'll receive urethral surgery and advanced prosthetic care. Excluding medical costs (which are being subsidized by the surgeons), this trip will cost an estimated US$7,500. Do you have any leads to organizations or companies that might be willing to set out a collection box, donate items to be raffled at fundraisers, or donate air tickets, etc.?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thanks CC Lee & Singapore

After raising another S$2,035 (US$1,489) from his readers and colleagues, Singaporean comic artist CC Lee threw in an extra US$111 to bring the figure up to a nice round US$1,600. So far, CC Lee and his wonderful readers and co-workers in Singapore have donated an astounding S$14,128 -- that's US$10,338 -- towards helping Thien Nhan! Special thanks to repeat and monthly donors, and of course to CC Lee.

Fashion & Compassion

Many thanks to Dep magazine and the Le Club, which hosted a charity auction and cocktail party in Hanoi for Thien Nhan on Friday June 20th. The beautifully-organized event was attended by dozens of guests, including many models and women in gorgeous dresses--much to Thien Nhan's delight. Larger than life posters of Thien Nhan adorned the Le Club, and a video showed his progress over the past two years.

As well as raising VND50 million (about US$3,000) for Thien Nhan's upcoming trip to the USA, the Dep party brought fresh attention to our fundraising efforts. There are only six weeks to go before Thien Nhan will travel to Dartmouth, NH and Chicago for urethral surgery and prosthetic care!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Early Bird

This morning, Thien Nhan had to be up at 6.30am for a photo shoot, as Hanoi events magazine TimeOut had decided to put the tot on its next cover. While most babies are up bright and early, Thien Nhan is something of a night owl, and was most unimpressed about being woken up so early. "He looked totally squashed, like a banh bao (dumpling)," said Mai Anh.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Charity Auction

This Friday night, Vietnamese fashion and lifestyle magazine Dep is hosting a cocktail party and charity auction in Hanoi to raise funds for Thien Nhan's medical care. Thien Nhan is looking forward to being the center of attention at this glamorous event.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Standing Tall

Thien Nhan's prosthetic leg was too short, so he spent the day at VietCot being fitted for an extension. His dad and big brother, Minh, came along too to lend support. The lengthened leg should be ready sometime this week.

Tomorrow Thien Nhan has an appointment with physiotherapist Dr. Chuong, who, all being well, will help to arrange regular physio sessions for the tot. He needs specialized physio to ensure the health of his good leg, stump and spine.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Great News!

In mid-August 2008, Thien Nhan will travel to Dartmouth University Hospital in New Hampshire, USA, for urethral surgery and high-tech prosthetic care. Thien Nhan is expected to be in the USA for six months on this initial visit.

Dr. Joe Rosen of Dartmouth College has agreed to oversee Thien Nhan's complex genital reconstruction, which will take place in stages over the next 10-15 years. After reviewing reports and images of Thien Nhan's injuries, several large hospitals had expressed regret that they would be unable to rebuild a functional penis. Dartmouth, however, is doing pioneering research in tissue-reconstruction, and these techniques offer hope for Thien Nhan.

While many hospital fees will be waived, we must try to step up our fundraising efforts to pay for Thien Nhan's (and a family member's) long stays overseas, medication and associated costs.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Brother's Keeper

When a bigger kid recently kicked Little Minh, aged 3, Thien Nhan rushed to his big brother's defence. "He raced over, jumped in front of the other kid and started babbling threats," said Mai Anh. "Nhan was really angry and strong-looking." After checking under Minh's shirt to be sure that he wasn't badly injured, Thien Nhan went back to chastizing his tormentor. "Thien Nhan is really tough," said Mai Anh. "He's like a little police man."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Little Gang

Along with two big brothers, Thien Nhan has a male cousin and these four little boys have a lot of fun together. Here's the whole gang.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Thanks Papa Eric

Papa Eric, the dad behind the popular Singaporean parenting forum Baby and Pappa ( added an information banner about Thien Nhan to his site's title page, along with links to our blog and CC Lee's. Thanks for sending more help our way!

Walking Lessons

Thien Nhan is growing quickly and his prosthetic limb is once again too short, requiring him to balance on a hard book. He can't get an appointment at the prosthetics center until next week. While Thien Nhan used to protest whenever his fake leg was strapped on, he has now accepted that his daily walking lessons are for his own good, and often asks to keep the leg on during his lunch break. "He is very determined," reports Mai Anh. "He often practices balancing from 8.30am until 5pm, and even naps with his fake leg propped up on a little pillow. He wants to be normal."

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Thien Nhan has a cold, caught off of his big brother Minh, who's three. Mai Anh took Thien Nhan to the family's doctor's house last night, where he was prescribed medicine for a cough and sent home. He slept badly, but seemed better this morning. Nhan's brother Minh, meanwhile, seems to have fully recovered. "They take turns getting sick," says Mai Anh.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Kind Souls

CC Lee, who must be Singapore's hardest-working cartoonist, has raised another S$1,1990 (US$1,462) for Thien Nhan via his readers and colleagues.

Check out for details. As usual, Lee chipped in an extra US$138 to bring this installment up to a nice even US$1,600. So far, CC Lee and his band of Kind Souls have raised a whopping S$12,093, or US$8,885! Thank you Singapore!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Visiting a Sick Friend

Last weekend, Mai Anh took Thien Nhan (in yellow shirt) to the 1080 Hospital in Hanoi to visit Linh, aged 15 months, who is undergoing treament for leukemia. The tragedy doesn't end there. Linh's dad is in jail for life, convicted of murdering his wife's lover. Following her boyfriend's death, Linh's mom threw herself into a river and drowned. Little Linh is now being cared for by the family's former maid. "The maid is very poor but such a good lady," says Mai Anh. "I took Thien Nhan there to see if we can find some way to help them." Any leads to organizations that could aid Linh are appreciated.

Thanks AIPF & Protec Hanoi!

The Hanoi staff of the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIPF) and Protec, a non-profit firm that manufactures motorbike safety helmets, teamed up to raise money for Thien Nhan. Last Saturday the staff from AIPF and Protec presented Mai Anh with VND10 million (US$625), which the two organizations then matched to bring the total donation up to VND20 million. Mai Anh, Nghinh, Thien Nhan and his brothers Big Minh and Little Minh all visited AIPF's Hanoi office to learn more about their good work to reduce injuries on Vietnam's dangerous roads. Thank you everyone at Protec and AIPF!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

International Children's Day

Today, June 1st, is International Children's Day, and Thien Nhan received dozens of well-wishers bearing toys, food and clothes. Many families brought their kids over to play with Thien Nhan and his brothers Big Minh and Little Minh. "There are toys all over the house," reports Mai Anh. "It is very messy but the kids had so much fun." Thien Nhan, who loves cars, was especially thrilled with the toy vehicles.