On November 11, the campus of Ho Chi Minh City’s Youth Cultural House in District 1 was dyed yellow with thousands of paper sunflowers made during the “Sunflower Festival” held to raise funds for Vietnamese child cancer patients.
The event was held by Tuoi Tre Newspaper to mark the death of Le Thanh Thuy, a high school girl famous for fighting a long, hard battle against bone cancer before she died, as well as the fifth year of the newspaper’s Thuy’s Dream Foundation supporting child cancer patients.
At the event, attendants joined in to make paper sunflowers, the flower symbolizing Thuy’s incredible faith in the battle with her cancer, to create a 20 meter-long, 5 meter-wide map of Vietnam displayed in the center of the venue.
The festival also featured music performances, portrait sketching booths, painting exhibitions and a fair with proceeds donated to Thuy’s Dream foundation.
Not only healthy youths, but a number of disadvantaged people also participated in order to understand and share with child cancer patients.
Nguyen Hong Loi, 24, who has no legs or arms, said that he and a number of his disabled friends came since they admired Thuy’s energy.
“I hope the kids will recover and people will join hands to help each other to overcome difficulties,” he said.
Meanwhile, a 30-year-old man named Khanh, who has trouble moving due to a battle with polio when he was 1 and a half years old, said that he was encouraged to live better after seeing how Thuy and child cancer patients bravely struggle with their diseases.
Many children also visited the event. Despite the hot weather, 11-year-old Tran Ba Nam stopped by the festival to make a sunflower while waiting for his mother to take him home after class. The little boy shared that he wanted to do something to wish for a healthier and better life for sick children.
For her part, Sara Blatter, who is working at the British International School, said she and her cupcake booth will definitely come back to the event in the future.
“The children of our school went to hospitals to help with Thuy’s Dream and today we are selling cupcakes to raise money. All proceeds will be donated to the foundation,” she shared.
Volunteers students from universities around the city also joined in to cheer up the festival through their community dance performances.
At around 10am, hundreds of yellow balloons were released into the sky, bringing wishes for a healthier life to child cancer patients so that they can get out of hospitals, a place which is “so boring”, as 6-year-old blood cancer patient Do Phuoc Tai said.
Below are some photos taken at the event:
11-year-old Tran Bao Nam stopped by after his class to make flowers and wish for health for sick children
More than 6,000 paper sunflowers were made on the morning of November 11.
Wishes were written on the flowers’ pistils. In the picture, the wish says “Be brave to overcome sickness, dear!”
Khanh (L) and Loi shared that they’re glad to come and share with child cancer patients
A group from the Deaf Community Organization in HCMC at their booth to raise money for Thuy’s Dream foundation
Volunteers dance to the background music of Kelly Clarkson’s hit “Stronger”