Posted by Guest Blogger on October 24, 2011
Our Guest Blogger today is Wirat, one of our MaxStations in Thailand who works closely with the local patient group in Vietnam called Max’s Vie. He says that helping them to organize their 2011 Celebration of Life event was one of his favorite tasks. In this blog, he tells us many of the highlights from their big day.
As some of you may know that Max’s Vie was still small in their number of members. But that did not stop the group from organizing a wonderful Celebration of Life, benefitting children with cancer. Cong, one of the group’s patient leaders, stepped up to the challenge by recruiting even more people to help him organize their event this year.
The first person is Cong’s wife who joined him for the first time. She was a big support to Cong this year. One idea she had on her mind was to buy some toys for giving to the kids. Cong’s wife also made another big contribution. Her sister introduced them to the leader of the volunteer group named “Tình Nguy?n Ni?m Tin” meaning “Volunteer of Faith”. This volunteer group’s mission is supporting children who are handicapped. They have experience that Cong and the team did not have. This volunteer group was instrumental in bringing success to the 2011 Celebration of Life event and they already made a promise to come back to help us again next year.
In the early morning of the meeting day, Cong and his wife packed everything on the back of their motorcycles and rode 8 kms through the busiest of downtown Hanoi to get to the hospital. Max’s Vie members and the volunteer came early to set up the room. The hospital provide free of charge for the good size of conference room on the 12th floor, just perfect for this meeting. Everything were set including full dishes of candies, creamy cracker and snack were on each table. Then the nurses made an announcement that the meeting room was ready, with cartoon and snacks. All the kids with caregivers took the elevators and flow up to the meeting room so quickly. I was so surprise how these kids moving so professional with while their IV bottles and tube hung on their hands. This is amazing picture.
A main highlight of the gathering was the art session; this is the activity that everyone enjoying thoroughly. Well prepared materials and drawing tools were put together with the printed outlines of the Brave Sparrow image. Kids and their caregivers were having fun together, drawing the pictures. The most unbelievable moment that we saw was when some of them drew other beautiful pictures on the back of the outline printout paper. That moment took every kids' mind flying away from the room which they were forgetting about the VI tube on their hands and the pain. To keep up with their artwork, Max’s Vie gave each child a gift set: a cartoon book, a box of fresh milk, a box of crayons and an envelope with Vietnamese Dong (money).
Everyone - Max's Vie, volunteers and nurses were so happy to see all kids and caregivers smiling and enjoy the activities. At the end of the event, the kids and caregivers were waving hands to say goodbye to us with smiling and thanks. It was a memorable time for each of the kids to be away from the treatment room they have been staying in for a week, a month or event a year. The moment that they feel like they were being kids and play the others.
After counting the registration form, Cong told me that 45 kids with 45 caregivers were registered. There were 20 kids who unable to come and we went to give the gifts at their rooms. There were 3 kind nurses, 12 Max’s Vie, 10 volunteers (plus the twins) and one MaxStation. I can feel this is a big great success of Max’s Vie and they have come so far since the group started three years ago.