FEATURES A robot arm dream turned into reality
HAØ NOÄI — On a sunny day at the beginning of November, Voõ Thò Hoàng Vaân and her son travel the familiar road from the southern province of Ñoàng Nai to HCM City to receive treatment for the young boy’s cancer. On this particular day, they are full of joy.
Cancer destroyed the childhood and left hand of Vaân’s son - Haûi Ñaêng. The name which means lighthouse makes people think of hope. He’s now 13 years old and a pupil at the Hoøa Höng Junior Secondary School in Long Thaønh District, the southern province of Ñoàng Nai.
Now many benefactors have helped make Ñaêng’s dream of having a robot arm a reality. fice.
Ñaêng’s arm had to be amputated to prevent metastasis. It was the only option.
Being a mother, Vaân struggled to tell Ñaêng the painful truth but was unable to do it. The doctor helped Vaân break the news to Ñaêng.
“Ñaêng kept asking me if his arm will be reattached after it is cut,” Vaân said.
Vaân had to say “Yes’ just so Ñaêng would feel secure, but she cried in private.
During the worst days, Vaân and her son found optimism in the programme ‘Thuùy’s dream’.
Meeting volunteers from the programme, Ñaêng said he dreamed of shaking hands with a pilot, visiting the cockpit and controlling the plane with his two hands. Ñaêng believed that flying a plane was like driving a car, and he would hold the steering wheel to control the plane around the blue sky.
Volunteers looked at ways of helping Ñaêng, but strict regulations on flights meant he was unable to fulfill his dream.
Ñaêng went into surgery with his dream still in his mind.
After surgery, Vaân cried a lot. But it was Ñaêng who consoled his mother.
“Mother, please don’t cry. I want you to be happy, I feel healthy when you’re happy,” Ñaêng told his mother.
Ñaêng was discharged from hospital at the end of 2016.
At home, he tried to do everything by himself. But when doing tasks that required two hands, he told his mother, “If only I had a robot arm.”
His wish was too much for their poor family.
At the Sunflower Festival held in HCM City last year, Ñaêng spoke about his dream. And the quest to find a robot arm for Ñaêng started that day. a technology workshop, collaborated with the Taiwan-based TGH Organisation to design and build an arm for Ñaêng.
On hearing that the arm was finished about five months later, Vaân and Ñaêng immediately went to HCM City.
Ñaêng held his new arm and smiled.
Vaân said, “It’s been such a long time since I saw a smile on his face.”
The Sunflower Festival was launched in 2008. It is an important part of the ‘Thuùy’s dream’ programme. The festival was organised to connect cancer patients and call for help from people, businesses and organisations to support them.
‘Thuùy’s dream’ was launched by the (Youth) newspaper two months before a cancer patient named Leâ Thò Thuùy passed away. The programme was set up in order to carry on her will and great effort to help other disadvantaged children suffering from cancer.
At the age of 15, Thuùy was diagnosed with bone cancer. Despite her illness, Thuùy continued taking part in a number of charitable activities such as writing a blog titled
(Thuùy’s dream) and taking part in many events for children with cancer in HCM City. She was named the young citizen of HCM City in 2006 owing to her optimism in her fight against cancer while doing well academically at the same time. — VNS