By: Jireya Bautista
In this edition of SEA Wave, we feature Em c Mong Sao, a book that collates the plights and experiences of cancer-stricken children.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a difficult experience for anybody, even more for children who may have a harder time understanding the situation. Explaining the procedures to them is another challenge entirely, as we aim to ensure they remain hopeful and positive.
This is why Hoàng Thị Diệu Thuần, the founder of the Network for Cancer Children, went on a mission to listen to the first-hand stories of young cancer patients. Their stories were collated in a beautiful story book that tells an honest portrait of being a cancer patient through the eyes of children.
The book, “Em c Mong Sao” (I Wish), shares the honest and innocent confessions of children who bravely fight cancer or who have combated the hardships of having cancer parents. Most of the names in the book have been abbreviated to conceal their identity.
In the book, the children did not hesitate to share their feelings about the disease that they or their parents were suffering from. Little friend Bao Yen wrote: “For me, cancer is like a thunderstorm that lasts in the body. Every time I was tired or had to go to the emergency room, my soul was like there were terrifying waves of thunder and whirlwinds. It made me weak and sad. If only this thunderstorm could be less aggressive and become a small rain just how good, it is.”
As courageous as ever, Mr. J. Briza who currently diagnosed with colon cancer shared his insight on the book with SEA Wave: “I’m Happy there is a storybook made for children to understand in their level what they are being diagnosed or being bough to the hospital all the time and I would love to share this to my granddaughter and son so they could understand why I’m carrying a colostomy bag on my tummy”
Lawrence, who has Optic Nerve Glioma, also shares his thoughts with SEA Wave: “One thing that I can closely relate towards the topic though is the feeling and atmosphere of undergoing Chemotherapy and entering the ICU. The ICU will become a common place for us whether it be a silent ward with me the only patient or a busy and full ward with several if not tons of patients. We could only hope to avoid it but as the article said everything has a price and the price for avoiding it will create a large and deep hole in our pockets. A gentle reminder that though this book in the article was written based on the stories of parents with their children having cancer we may all experience this someday. “
Finally, Rita Ong, a breast cancer survivor, commented: “It is hard in my age to express my feeling when I was diagnosed what else for little children? So, kudos to the creator (the Network for Cancer Children) for creating such storybook that anybody of age who is going through that battle can relate and feel not alone”
The book itself is a small gift for great efforts on the journey to face illness. Many have recovered from the disease and returned to school, many have continued their efforts for treatment, but they all share a beautiful dream: To be healthy, to return home to their families and to school like other children.
SEA Wave magazine’s SEAtizens initiative is a series of inspiring stories of people in Southeast Asia who champion the human spirit by demonstrating courage, ingenuity, generosity, and selflessness.
Featured photo from Quoc Viet