Currently, thousands of people in Vietnam are blind due to cornea-related diseases but hope has been flared when Nguyen Thi Hoa, a resident of Ninh Binh province, became the first person in the country to donate her corneas. The movement has been spreading across the province.
Do Thi Mo’s mother and two sons donated corneas when they died in 2010 and 2011. Ms. Mo has also registered for cornea donation.
In 2016, Nguyen Thi Lan requested the Central Eye Hospital to remove her husband’s corneas as his final wish, to give the gift of vision to the blind.
“I also want to donate my corneas and have been registered for 6 years. I hope I can help blind people to regain their vision,” said Lan.
In Van Hai commune, nearly 800 people have registered to donate their corneas, one of the highest numbers in Vietnam.
This February, the story of a 7-year-old girl named Hải An in Hanoi who donated her corneas before she died of a brain tumor, has touched the hearts of millions of people. Her corneas were transplanted four days after her death to a 73-year-old woman and a 42-year-old man.
Nguyen Huu Hoang, Director of the Eye Bank of the Central Eye Hospital who removed Hai An’s corneas, said it was the operation that touched him the most over his 10-year career. Before the procedure began, Hai An’s mother kissed her forehead and whispered: "You give the light to others, my dear!”
“I was very moved to hear the mother’s monologue. This is my first time hearing something so moving. When we completed the surgery, once again we were touched by an unforgettable sentence by the mother: ‘I’m proud of you’. Even now I feel moved to tears because of the child and her family’s sacrifice,” said Hoang.
5 months after Hai An’s case, another young patient donated her corneas after she died. It was 12-year-old Nguyen Van Nhi of Hanoi. Her death was caused by a rare medical condition in which benign tumors form along the aerodigestive tract.
Nguyen Hoang Phuc, Deputy Director of the Vietnam National Co-ordinating Centre for Human Organ Transplantation, said after Hai An, Van Nhi has encouraged others to register for organ donation in a hope to continue life for other patients in need.
“The little girl had completed her mission in life and presented the gift of life to other people. She had bravely overcome the fear of death. I strongly believe that such moving stories will spread across the community,” Phuc added.