Creating strength from fragility: A boy’s experience with facial disfigurement offers a novel perspective on human

In the final days of the year, cold air spreads everywhere, and the small house of Ms. Nguyen Thuy Linh (36 years old, living in Chau Phu hamlet, Vinh My A commune, Hoa Binh district, Bac Lieu) becomes even lonelier. For more than ten years, she has been working hard on her own to raise her only son, who is suffering from a serious illness, and care for her elderly mother who has had a stroke.

Ms. Linh has cried her eyes out since her husband left her and her children over ten years ago. Since her son got sick, she cries every night because of his pitiful screams of pain. “My child screams every night, but I don’t know who to call. I just look at my child and cry. There is an only son, but he is suffering from the dangerous disease of bone cancer, and his life is unknown what tomorrow will bring,” Ms. Linh choked up.

The Deformed Face of Tran Chi Khang

Ms. Linh sadly remembered that when Tran Chi Khang was born in 2000, he was normal like any other child. When her son turned six years old, she prepared him for school. The joy of having a son who was about to go to school barely began when suddenly one night, a lump appeared on his face right under his chin. Seeing unusual signs, Ms. Linh took her child to the doctor, and from then on, she and her mother spent more time at the hospital than at home.

“After going from hospital to hospital many times and undergoing a number of surgeries, the doctor finally told me he had bone cancer, a serious disease that could kill him at any time. When I heard that information, I froze,” Ms. Linh recounted in silence.

Since her son’s illness, Linh has poured all the money she has saved into treating him, but the illness has not cured and has gotten worse. Her son’s illness remained, but her husband cruelly left, leaving mother and child to live in extreme misery. “If it weren’t for my child and my old mother, I probably wouldn’t have been able to endure it until now,” Ms. Linh said sadly.

The Dire Situation of Tran Chi Khang

We couldn’t hold back our tears when we saw the image of Tran Chi Khang now. On his face, the left side was almost completely deformed with a tumor larger than his face; his left eye is blind, so the remaining light only comes from the right eye, but it’s not very clear. Khang’s body is weak, his limbs are skinny because he only has skin and bones. Due to complications from the disease, his right leg was broken, and he could no longer move.

Witnessing the scene of Khang using his hands to peel off each piece of cake on a plate and bring it to his mouth to eat, sometimes not being able to put it all in his mouth, made those present extremely sad. When we asked about it, Khang looked at us with his remaining right eye in pain and could only say that he was in pain and as if he wanted to say something else but couldn’t say a word.

Ms. Linh’s Struggles and Hopes

Ms. Linh said that the tumor on Khang’s face has been getting bigger for about two months now. No longer able to care for her child, she had to leave her child at home but had to buy medicine every day. “Every day, hundreds of thousands of dong are spent on medicine for her child. Medicines also have to go all the way to Bac Lieu City, several dozen kilometers from home, to buy them. The money for medicine, money for transportation, money for food really makes me more miserable than ever,” Ms. Linh said in a deadlock.

Without a stable job, Ms. Linh had to rent someone else’s house, so she didn’t get much money. Out of pity, the owner lent her more money to pay for her child’s medicine and then gradually reduced the debt. But her son’s condition became weaker, so she had to quit her job and stay home to take care of him. Now the daily lives of her and her mother depend on the love of their neighbors. People gave her rice and a little money used to buy medicine for her children, but unfortunately, the family circumstances of the people around her were not rich, so the support was limited.

“Every night her child is in pain and screams miserably. I can’t sleep at night, I just cry every time. If only I could bear this disease so that my child could heal, study, and live longer, I would be willing,” Ms. Linh said sadly. With Khang’s current medical condition, without daily medication, his condition will become more dangerous. Meanwhile, Ms. Linh can no longer earn any money to take care of her child, and Khang’s life is very fragile.

The situation of this family is dire because not only Khang but also his grandmother, Nguyen Thi Lun (73 years old), is suffering from a stroke and cannot walk. Mr. Lun also has to take medicine every day, so it can be said that Ms. Linh can no longer bear it. “I don’t know what to do anymore, I don’t know what to do to be able to take care of my children and my elderly mother in the coming days. Other people’s families are preparing for the new year, but I just hope to have money to buy medicine to keep my child alive and don’t want anything else,” Ms. Linh confided.

Sharing with PV, Ms. Nhung (a local resident) said: “When I saw Khang carrying a tumor on his face, I felt very sorry for him. I am also a mother and have a child close to my child’s age, so I understand how a mother feels towards her child. The family’s economy was at a standstill while a serious illness tormented her child every day. Linh felt so much pain. I really hope that relatives near and far will love and help so that Ms. Linh can overcome this difficult time.”

Community Support Needed

Talking to PV Dan Tri, Mr. Tran Nghiep Doan – Vice Chairman of Vinh My A Commune People’s Committee – said that Ms. Linh’s family’s situation is particularly difficult in the locality. There are currently three people in the family, and two of them have serious illnesses. “Our locality only provided partial support, so we couldn’t help her family much. Therefore, through the newspaper, we hope that philanthropists will share the difficulties with this family, including supporting her to keep the baby alive,” Mr. Doan expressed.

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