A young woman named Hien recently came to visit the United States as one of our special guests at the Miracle of Mobility, where she did a marvelous job sharing her story.
After the event, we arranged for her to have time to relax and enjoy the sights of southern California. It was a joy to see her simply having fun– after all, Hien is only 19 years old, and she has endured so much in her young life already.
Hien was born to a loving family in Vietnam. She was an excellent student early on, but at the age of eight, she began to lose the ability to walk and was forced to take an extended leave from school to undergo a battery of medical tests.
Doctors were unable to determine the cause of her condition, even after testing samples taken from her spinal cord– a procedure that inflicted great pain upon young Hien. Doctors finally discovered a tumor on her spine and performed surgeries to remove it.
Hien recovered from the surgery and regained mobility after undergoing rigorous physical therapy. She was able to return to school; however, her studies were interrupted again after she took a tumble down a high, steep stairwell at school, horrifying classmates who witnessed it.
Hien again lost mobility, but this time, the damage was permanent. Subsequent surgeries and physical therapy were not able to help her recover.
She dropped out of school. Her parents desperately wanted to get her a wheelchair, but they could not afford one. Left confined to her home, Hien grew withdrawn, afraid to even venture outside of her home.
In 2013, Hien connected with Giving It Back To Kids, our distribution partner in Vietnam, who gave her a GEN_2 wheelchair. “Life changed tremendously from that point,” said Hien. With her wheelchair, she could cook, take care of herself, and become more independent.
After hearing an encouraging message to “never give up” by Nick Vujicic (who happened to be our guest speaker at Miracle of Mobility in 2015), Hien was inspired to go back to school, but she couldn’t afford to. Giving It Back To Kids stepped in once again, helping Hien enroll in a graphic design program. She began her studies in December of 2016, fulfilling her dream of continuing her education.
“I am forever grateful to all of the people who lovingly and generously provided me with a wheelchair that have become my new legs,” said Hien through tears. “I would not be living today if it wasn’t for the generosity of these people.” Hear more from Hien, in her own words, in this video interview.
Hien has returned home– to the hometown that she loves, to the family she adores, to the school that she is thankful for. Hien was once inspired by others, and now, she serves as an inspiration to others.
So many people have made a difference in Hien’s life: her parents, Nick Vujicic, Giving It Back To Kids, and you– our supporters, without whom we could not send wheelchairs to people like Hien. Thank you for giving not just the gift of mobility, but the gift of hope, dignity, and independence.