Teen opens heart to native Vietnam

TUPELO – Some people simply think about doing things, while others take the plunge and actually do them.
John Giau Nguyen had decided to become one of the doers.
The Tupelo High School senior wanted to help to improve the quality of life for Vietnamese children suffering from cancer, so he created a humanitarian assistance program known as Heart to Heart.
Nguyen, a native of Vietnam, started Heart to Heart to raise money that will go to Vietnamese hospitals to help the large number of cancer patients. Nguyen said each year, 150,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed in the country and 75,000 people die from it.
“I just wanted to help all the children in the hospitals in Vietnam who have cancer,” he said. “I know it may not be much, but any little bit helps. I hope Heart to Heart grows and more people get involved so we really can help these cancer patients.”
Tupelo Mayor Jack Reed Jr. has written a letter to Nguyen endorsing Heart to Heart as a legitimate charity. So far, Nguyen has collected $200 but put the fundraising on hold after Japan’s earthquake and tsunami.
“I didn’t want to collect money and take away from the people in Japan that needed the money,” said Nguyen. “So I want people to send their money to Japan to help the people who were affected by the tsunami.”
Nguyen did send the $200 to a hospital in Saigon City recently via a friend who lives there.
“She took the money to the hospital and the children were very happy,” he said. “They all laughed and smiled and were grateful even though it wasn’t a whole lot of money. I believe a smile is the greatest gift you can give someone, so to see the pictures with the kids smiling was a great feeling. I hope Heart to Heart can bring many more smiles.”
Nguyen hasn’t been back to Vietnam since moving to the United States six years ago, but the 18-year-old plans to go in June to deliver the next check to the hospital himself.
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@journalinc.com.

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal