Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dartmouth Medical Magazine

Last August, Thien Nhan travelled to Dartmouth, New Hampshire in the United States, where he underwent urethral surgery. An interesting article about his case has just been published in Dartmouth's medical magazine --online at:

Thanks to the writer, Matthew Wiencke, for his thoughtful and well-informed story, to Greig Craft and Son Michael Pham, the trip's tireless organizers, and to all of the doctors and nurses who helped Thien Nhan at Dartmouth University Hospital.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ups & Downs

Last Sunday, one day after getting four stitches in his lip, Thien Nhan joined his preschool classmates at a Christmas carol performance held in Hanoi's historic Opera House. Due to his accident, he'd missed the dress rehearsal and was overwhelmed - and scared - by the giant stage and bright lights. "The kids were on a stage that moved up and down," explains mom Mai Anh. "Thien Nhan got really scared and cried through most of the song." Luckily, his big brother, Little Minh, 3, was at the concert too, and helped to reassure Thien Nhan. "Nhan wasn't the only kid who was crying," says Mai Anh. "After his accident and the anaesthetic he wasn't his usual happy self. He had a tough weekend." Luckily he's fine now and the family's looking forward to a happy and relaxing Christmas!

Musical Mishap

Poor Thien Nhan had a musical mishap! While standing on the piano bench and pressing on the keys with his leg-stump to make "music", the tot lost his balance and fell off, landing face first. "There was blood all over his chin and shirt," reports mom Mai Anh. "Nghinh and I totally panicked. We were so scared. We all rushed to the emergency room at Viet Duc Hospital."

At the hospital, doctors recognized Thien Nhan from local media reports. Aware that the boy has already been through a lot of trauma and fearful of damaging his adorable looks, they called two plastic surgeons from the Facial-Dental Hospital. These specialists decided to put Thien Nhan under general anaesthetic and used a special type of stitches that reduce scarring. Four stitches were required to repair his lower lip. "The doctors did an amazing job. Thank goodness he is fine and looks great," says Mai Anh. [Photo shows Thien Nhan the day after his accident.]

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Decorations

Thien Nhan is busily preparing for this Sunday's Christmas concert, when he'll join his preschool classmates in singing carols at Hanoi's Opera House.

In preparation for the event, Thien Nhan's frame walker -- which he obtained in Chicago last August -- will be decorated with festive tinsel garlands and streamers. We'll post photos when available...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Something to Sing About

Today at preschool, Thien Nhan and his classmates spent time practicing singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas". The toddlers will perform the song at a school Christmas party at Hanoi's historic Opera House. "It's amazing that when we got him nine months ago he only spoke a few words and now he can sing this song," says his mom, Mai Anh. "Time goes so quickly!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


After a few weeks being plagued by colds and flus, Thien Nhan and his brothers, Big Minh and Little Minh, are all healthy again. Check out the cute video link of the boys playing with modelling clay at the Hanoi Children's Palace.

"Winter isn't an easy time for Thien Nhan because cold weather makes his leg stump ache," admits mom, Mai Anh. But the tot is looking forward to spending his first Christmas and Tet with his adoptive family in Hanoi.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Cheer

Thanks to Hanna's Mum and all of the Saigon Help Thien Nhan volunteers who showed up to help sell Bubbafish toys at last Saturday's HCM City British International Christmas Craft Fair! We sold VND13 million worth of soft, handmade toys, including 50 pieces that went to Smart Kids International School.

In the run-up to Christmas, Bubbafish - a small toy company operated by Thien Nhan's mom, Tran Mai Anh, and good friend Elke Ray - has participated in six craft fairs in Hanoi and HCM City, giving 10 percent of sales towards Thien Nhan's rehab. Sales at these events have contributed VND6 million to Thien Nhan, and raised a lot of interest in his case. Thanks to everyone who helped out!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanks Saigon Rugby!

A big thanks to the Saigon Rugby Club for their donation of US$500 towards Thien Nhan's rehabilitation. Let's hope that in the future Thien Nhan will be able to get out on the field and run with his prosthetic leg!

This money was raised during the club's Jon Ellwood Memorial Trophy - an annual tournament held in memory of Jon Ellwood, a club member killed in the 2002 Bali bombings. This year's charitable tournament, held in mid-November, was a great success, drawing a dozen teams made up of expat and local players.

Anyone in Saigon eager to play rugby should check out
Touch rugby takes place every Saturday from 4 to 6p.m. at RMIT University sports ground, 702 Nguyen Van Linh Boulevard, Tan Phong Ward. District 7.