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

Outlook - - CONTENTS - Told by Nguyeãn Ñöùc, re­ported by Löu Vaên Ñaït

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.

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