Making the most of a precious lifeline
A literally gut-wrenching surgery separated Nguyeãn Ñöùc from his Siamese twin Nguyeãn Vieät and he is determined to live life to the fullest. Himself now a father of twins, Ñöùc tries to express gratitude for his second chance by devoting it to charity a
A literally gut-wrenching surgery separated Nguyeãn Ñöùc from his Siamese twin Nguyeãn Vieät and he is determined to live life to the fullest by devoting it to charity and inspiring others to join him.
verything in my life is as though has been bestowed by magic. From the moment of my birth, I never thought I can grow up like any normal child in this world. There was no question of even thinking about getting married and having children, not to mention engaging in charity work and helping other people with disabilities.
Now, I do not see myself as different from any normal person, except for the fact that I only have one leg.
Unfortunately, my brother and I were born attached to each other as Siamese twins in Kon Tum in 1981. We were admitted to the Vieät - Ñöùc Hospital and later, to the Töø Duõ Hospital.
Our childhood was very difficult because we were attached to each other. All of our daily activities were extremely challenging for me and my brother Vieät.
My life was completely changed on October 4, 1988, when we underwent a surgery to be separated, because everyone wanted me to be free from being attached to Vieät, who was seriously sick.
I cannot forget Dr Traàn Ñoâng A and several other people who gave me a new
life. One year before Vieät died in 2007, I got married. Two years after the death of my elder brother I
Eit became a father of twins.
My involvement in charitable activities is a way to give back to society. Whenever my friends ask me why I do this, I tell them it is because it makes me happy. Since I am optimistic about life, I think it is good for me to help those who are worse off.
I know I am much luckier than other AO (Agent Orange) victims. I received much local and foreign support right after birth. Many AO victims can do nothing but lie immobile.
Last year, my friends and I set up a group of about 30 members which we call Ñöùc Nihon, which will help disadvantaged and AO victims in Vieät Nam. I cannot describe the feeling that I get after giving scholarships to disadvantaged students or help an AO victim’s family.
I have spoken at several primary schools in Japan and Vieät Nam. I know it is not big work, but I hope to somehow support disadvantaged people in general and AO victims in particular. I do it because it makes my life meaningful.
My project encourages youngsters to lend a hand in caring for AO victims. We see them look innocent and happy when we visit them, but in fact they are miserable inside about their situation.
I have undergone the experience of a disabled person, so I look to share this experience with normal people in the hope that they can understand and sym- pathise with it. I hope this also motivates them to help those who are less fortunate.
With support from Vietnamese and Japanese youth, I have organised regular visits and care for AO victims at shelters in the city, as most people with disabilities nurse a complex about their situation.
With my new project, I want Vietnamese youth to understand and help AO victims and people with disabilities to overcome the complex they have about their physical condition.
Now, I live a happy life, but still face some difficulties. Like other people, I have to support my wife in bringing up our children. I am now a breadwinner for the family. My twins are four years old.
Being very busy with my daily job, the events I participate in are not enough for me to repay my gratitude to society and help other victims who are not lucky enough to receive the community's care like I have.
One last thing I want to mention. One of the most important events in my life will take place next month - a ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of the day 70 doctors operated on me for 15 hours to separate me and Vieät. Everyone says it was the most difficult such operation until now.
Local and international doctors, experts, officials and others who gave me a new life will gather on October 10 at HCM City's Majestic Hotel.
Ñöùc poses with his wife and two children at a ceremony held to mark Agent Orange Day, August 10.