by Bach Lien
To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage."
|Romantic: Nguyen Phi Long (left), deputy chairman of the Viet Nam Youth Association, presents the Exemplary Lifestyle of Young People award to Nguyen Thi Phuong and Truong Van Chin.
These famous words by Lao-Tzu, a Chinese philosopher from the sixth century BC, continue to inspire amorous people, and in particular, Vietnamese husband Truong Van Chin and wife Nguyen Thi Phuong.
The couple last week were awarded a prize from by the Viet Nam Youth Association for leading an "Exemplary Lifestyle" that provided a role model for other youth. The prize aims to encourage young people to pursue their dreams while living fulfilling and altruistic lives.
Phuong's struggle to overcome a condition of paralysis due to a tumour on her spinal chord grabbed the public's attention last week, when her trials and tribulations were detailed in the publication of Phuong's diary.
The 344-page book tells the story of a paralysed yet energetic woman who overcame a serious disease and many life difficulties thanks to the love of her boyfriend (who later became her husband).
"The characters in the book and its author overcame destiny and can be proud of their lives," says Dang Vuong Hung, a writer and representative of publishers of the book ,the Cong An Nhan Dan (People's Public Security) Publishing House. "I came to understand that in this life there are some unbelievable but true stories that touch everyone."
Born in 1979 in Nghia Dung Commune, Tan Ky District, in the central province of Nghe An into a poor rural family. Phuong found that she had a tumour on her spinal chord when she was only 15 years old. After being sent to the hospital, she felt better and believed that she was fully recovered. She then left school to help her parents work on the family farm.
In 2000, she went south to earn her living as a worker. One time when she got sick, she went to the local hospital where she met and fell in love with Truong Van Chin, who came from Tien Giang Province and was in the army.
Unfortunately, right after their love grew, Phuong suffered again from the same disease, causing her to be paralysed for six months.
Fortunately, she met a French doctor who operated on her, and her strength returned temporarily. But only 15 months later, the disease struck again.
This time the doctors could do little to save her, as her condition had grown too serious, and feared that she was on her deathbed already.
Luckily for her, her boyfriend Chin has always been by her side to look after her and encourage her to fight on. Not wanting to let him stay forever with a paralysed woman, Phuong wrote him a good bye letter and came back to her native land with her mother. But Chin was determined not to give her up. He went to Nghe An with her to look after her. Everyday he did some farm work to help her family, and tried his best to cheer up the love of his life, even building Phuong a model of their dream house out of toothpicks.
Luckily for Phuong, the director of the Bao Long Medicine Corporation, Nguyen Huu Khai, found out about her moving story.
He decided to send an ambulance to Tan Ky District, over 300km away from his clinic in Son Tay City, to transport Chin and Phuong to Bao Long General Hospital for free examination and treatment. He offered Chin a job as the doorman at the hospital and after a period of time, Phuong's condition improved and Khai organised a wedding ceremony for the couple at the hospital.
At that time, Phuong weighted only 28kg. But after two years at the hospital, Phuong could give birth to a healthy boy that she named Bao Phuc. The boy is four years old now and is already starting to help look after his mother.
Phuong kept her diary until 2009 and published it following a correspondence with poet Dang Vuong Hung.
"One day when I don't exist anymore, I still hope my family and my friends can read what I wrote in this diary," said Phuong.
"For a sick person like me, the diary is a close friend. I only know how to share all my feelings with my diary."
Her diary has been highly appreciated by the publishing house and readers.
"Though Phuong couldn't study in high school, she wrote surprisingly well. It's extraordinary that a paralysed woman like her could write so well. I can only explain that it's thanks to the magic of love and her thirst for life," says Hung. —VNS