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August 18, 2022, 1:50 pm

Paper sunflowers carry on Thuy’s dream

(15:07:27 PM 20/01/2015)
( - What if someday one realizes he or she has cancer? It is true that most people may think of death in the first place while it is extremely rare to see somebody trying to make the most of his or her remaining life in a meaningful way. And Le Thanh Thuy chose to stay positive.


 Paper sunflowers carry on Thuy’s dream

Doan Phuong Hanh (front row, 2nd, R) and her peer volunteers take part in the Sunflower Festival


Despite cancer, Thuy still continued taking part in a number of charitable activities such as writing a blog post titled Uoc mo cua Thuy (Thuy’s dream) and taking part in many charity programs for children with cancer in HCMC. She was named the young citizen of HCMC in 2006 owing to her optimism to fight cancer while doing well academically at the same time.


In order to carry on her will and great effort to help other disadvantaged children suffering from cancer, Tuoi Tre newspaper launched Uoc mo cua Thuy program two months before she was gone.


At the age of 15, Thuy was diagnosed with bone cancer and hospitalized to get rid of a tumor located in the knee joint of her right leg. She had two thirds of the right leg amputated and had a prosthesis to fill the missing part.


One year later, Thuy had to be readmitted to hospital due to metastasis with her groin joint removed. From then on, she had to go to school on crutches. Despite such difficulties, Thuy always did very well academically at school and receive lots of respect for her non-stop courage from surrounding relatives, teachers and friends.


Unfortunately, Thuy went to hospital again to amputate her pelvis due to recurring metastasis around one year later. From that moment onwards, she was lying completely paralyzed in bed. However, her conditions were getting worse and worse and Thuy passed away in 2007.


Uoc mo cua Thuy comprises a host of activities taking place every weekend at the city’s hospitals. On top of that, Sunflower Festival is considered the signature event of the program which is held annually in November in commemoration of Le Thanh Thuy.


The festival often features a wide range of activities for participants such as music and magic performances, sketching portrait, folding paper sunflowers, drawing exhibition, dancing and most importantly a fair with proceeds going to Thuy’s dream foundation. In addition, several days prior to Sunflower Festival, many child cancer patients in cities across the country are given free meals and gifts.


Doan Phuong Hanh, a teacher at VUS who also serves as a senior volunteer of Uoc mo cua Thuy, says it is such an honor to participate in the program to help little poor children with cancer.


“Truth be told, I didn’t know much about Thuy, about how courageous she was to deal with cancer. However, every weekend, I and other volunteers spend time playing with these cancer children, slowly changing my mind. It seems to have an inside flame in each volunteer; yes, we are doing the right thing. We do not do for money but for love. We love these children and we love to share because we want to see many more of these little beautiful smiles,” says Hanh.


“After a busy week full of thought and worry, Saturday afternoon takes me to some peaceful moments. Sitting down and teaching them how to draw surely helps me keep away from stress,” she added.


“Every Sunflower Festival always makes me emotional as a lot of people aspire to share their love and hope for the unlucky kids. I think Uoc mo cua Thuy is giving them such a priceless gift - a strong will to combat cancer so that these kids can lead a positive life,” Tran Minh Khoa, a student at HCMC Open University who is also a volunteer of Mua he xanh (Green Campaign), expresses his thought.


According to Tuoi Tre, this year’s Sunflower Festival that took place last November at the Youth Cultural House in HCMC’s District 1 attracted a lot of people with thousands of paper sunflowers and hundreds of yellow balloons released into the sky carrying wishes for patients with cancer across the country. The festival ended with a gala night featuring music performances and awarding 145 scholarships worth a total of VND725 million to children with cancer.



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