Viet Nam News
SÓC TRĂNG — Hiếu Thảo doesn’t have a lot of the things other girls her age do, like limbs or a father.
But she doesn’t let that keep her down, because she does have her beloved grandmother, who she lives with.
Thảo was born in 2010 as a result of her mother’s marriage with his father named Vũ in Nha Trang City. When Thảo was only 10-months old, her father died in an accident.
Lý Thị Cho, Thảo’s grandmother, has brought her up in a small house in Sơn Ton Village, Cù Lao Dung District, the Mekong Delta Province of Sóc Trăng after Thảo’s mother went to HCM City to seek a new life and remarry.
“My daughter’s pregnancy was normal,” Cho told online newspaper VietnamPlus.
Therefore, when hearing her daughter complain about pain, Cho took her to the district medical clinic.
A doctor performed an ultrasound on Trần Thị Nhàn, Thảo’s mother, and suddenly burst into tears.
“I did not know why she cried,” Cho recalled, “She just asked me to prepare as my daughter was about to go into labour.”
When Cho went home for some essentials, doctors notified her that Nhàn would need a surgical birth, she added.
Three hours after the surgery Cho was told that her granddaughter had birth defects.
“I only dared to think that she had suffered an impairment like a cleft palate,” Cho said.
“It was a shock holding her for the first time. Where were her hands? Where were her legs? Suddenly I felt nothing at all. When I was about to return to my daughter, Thảo cried so hard that I had to stay and feed her milk.”
Thảo does not have limbs. Where her leg should be, there is a little toe.
Thảo is often told she has a lucky toe just like Nemo the fish from the movie Finding Nemo has his lucky fin.
Like Nemo, Thảo is lucky as she is alive and being brought up by a wonderful grandmother.
Even when some people told Cho to give Thảo away, she couldn’t bring herself to leave her granddaughter.
“She is still my granddaughter no matter what. I hold her in my arms, she sleeps on my shoulders. Giving her up is not that easy,” Cho said.
When Thảo was five, her mother remarried. Looking at a picture of her stepsibling, Thảo could not help wonder why they looked different.
“Grandma, why does my sister have enough limbs but I am like this? Why did my mom give birth to me so I have to suffer this pain?” she asked.
“I could do nothing but crying,” Cho said, “How could I give her an answer?”
That was one of the few times Thảo has complained about her condition.
With amazing fortitude, Thảo has been an excellent student at her school for three years.
“I’m pretty sure that because my eyes are close to a book when reading I can remember it better than my friends,” she smiled.
Without hands, Thảo uses her arm to turn pages and writes by jamming a pen between her neck and the stump of her arm.
Incredibly, she was chosen to represent her school at a handwriting competition.
Four years since she was first featured on Việt Nam National Television in a documentary about her life, Thảo has inspired thousands of people with disabilities.
A charity programme has raised nearly VNĐ250 million (US$10,750) for Thảo to have prosthetic limbs and she has gone to HCM City to take measurements for their construction.
“Next time, I want to visit Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens to see tigers, giraffes and hedgehogs,” she said.
Thảo has many wishes. She wants to be a doctor to protect her grandmother from the pain she is suffering.
However, at the moment, her happiness is much simpler.
“Every morning when I wake up, seeing my grandmother healthy makes me happy,” she said. — VNS