Viet­namese or­phan leaves com­mu­nity that took him in dur­ing fa­cial treat­ments

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY ALI­SON AULD

ve­nous mal­for­ma­tion.

Doc­tors at Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal Bos­ton con­ducted 26 op­er­a­tions and treat­ments to di­min­ish the growth that was about the size of a large bowl­ing ball when he ar­rived in Canada.

They man­aged to re­move the bulk of the le­sion, which had ob­structed his mouth, posed a threat to his air­way and made speech and eat­ing dif­fi­cult.

Son said ear­lier that the best part of his long med­i­cal odyssey — aside from it be­ing over — was be­ing able to eat prop­erly.

“I feel good,” he said weeks af­ter hav­ing his last pro­ce­dure in Jan­uary. “My lip used to be big and I had to eat over side, so it’s a lot eas­ier now.”

Son be­gan his trek to Canada af­ter one of Wal­ter’s col­leagues at the char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tion, Chil­dren’s Bridge Foun­da­tion, found him at the Viet­namese where he had been liv­ing since he was three.

She brought him to Toronto in the hopes that doc­tors at the Hospi­tal for Sick Chil­dren would be able to treat the vas­cu­lar growth, a sponge-like mass of soft tis­sue, mus­cles and nerves.

But af­ter months of eval­u­a­tion, doc­tors in Toronto said they didn’t think it was in Son’s best in­ter­ests to have the pro­ce­dures since it was not life-threat­en­ing.

Wal­ter then searched out other hos­pi­tals and found Mul­liken, who was will­ing to take on the case and do­nate his time to treat Son.

Wal­ter raised more than $500,000 from donors, while a U.S. med­i­cal foun­da­tion con­trib­uted $250,000 to cover the treat­ments that cost about $1 mil­lion.

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