Luu Nguyen is not only an exuberant young man who overcame an accident that took his leg, but also a philanthropist who goes to great lengths to help the elderly in his community.
Luu Nguyen, also known as Nguyen Van Luu, is a 27-year-old from Ngo May Town, Phu Cat District, located in the south-central province of Binh Dinh, who has earned a reputation in his community and on social media for the charitable work he has dedicated his life to.
In fact, his mission to help the elderly and underprivileged has derived so much support from donors that Ngo May Town leaders recently awarded him a certificate of merit.
But Luu’s success as a charity organizer stems from a much darker place.
In 2016, Luu was struck by a seven-seater car near the Kieu Bridge in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City.
He begged the driver who hit him to take him to the hospital so that he could save his crushed leg, but the driver just stood still and did nothing.
“Passers-by just watched as if it were a show performance. They were all so curious, but no one wanted to help,” Luu recalled.
Eventually, a taxi driver stepped in to take him to a nearby hospital but by that time it had been too late and doctors told him they would need to amputate his leg to save his life.
“I sank deep into self-pity because I had to make the choice myself. My parents who were in our hometown did not know anything,” the man shared.
“I bawled my eyes out when I saw my amputated leg.”
The next day when his parents and relatives arrived, Luu did his best to put on a smile despite silently crying to himself each night.
Eventually, he got tired of crying and decided to use the situation as a catalyst to help others, starting by participating in charity activities at the pagoda near his parents’ house.
That experience made him realize that he “could never have truly sympathized while standing on two legs.”
|Luu Nguyen visits a lonely elderly woman in this supplied photo.|
Aspiring to a peaceful smile
Despite not being from a rich family, Luu made a vow that he would himself help those around him, but he quickly realized that charity work is not as simple as it seems. After all, everyone is a critic.
“[People on the Internet] called me an attention-seeker who performed charity stunts for Internet ‘likes,’ he said.
"Some said I was a farce and unable to help anyone with my disabled body.”
But Luu pushed forward, choosing to disregard the negativity and focus on his goals.
He traveled across Vietnam, from the north to the south, visiting people in need and sharing their stories on his personal Facebook page.
Being disabled himself, the man encountered innumerable struggles while attempting to help those in remote areas and quickly found himself in need of adapting to poor accommodation and food offerings.
“Without perseverance, I would not have been able to make it through all that,” he said.
To cope, Luu views his struggles as a brief foray into the lives of others who are not as privileged as he is.
The smiles he receives from those he helps and the overwhelming support from the online community are more than enough to keep him going.
To date, Luu has successfully raised VND4.3 billion (US$182,000) in donations to support 31 poor families and critical patients across the country.
|Luu Nguyen cares for an orphaned baby in this supplied photo.|
Le Van Tan, one of Luu’s beneficiaries, had been suffering from kidney failure for five years before the aid arrived and helped him pay for the medical treatment he direly needed.
“Without Luu, I would not be here today to talk to you,” Tan said.
Despite all that he does, Luu still sees his achievement as humble.
“I conceive what I do as ‘supporting people in tough times,' not as lifting them out of poverty," he said.
"It's like a new ray of hope so that they can sprint ahead.”
When asked about the future, Luu, with a broad grin on his face, said, “I only worry about not being in good health conditions to travel. Nothing else.”
In the future, he only hopes for a prompt receding of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, life can return to normal, and his work for people who need him can resume.