Hoa Duc Cong, a prize-winning young dancer, is popular not only for his dancing talent but also for his iron will to combat his devastating renal failure. However, time is ticking for him.
Not many audiences know that behind the fiery, technically demanding moves which Cong, a member of the Big Toe dance group, performs onstage is his incredible effort just to stay alive.
Cong was diagnosed with renal failure when he was only 16. Over the past six years he has had to undergo renal dialysis three times a week.
He now always wears long-sleeved, large shirts onstage to hide the needle marks crisscrossing his skin and his emaciated 42-kg body.
Each renal dialysis session costs VND600,000 (US$29), a huge amount for Cong’s parents. His father is a xe om driver and his mother is a peddler.
Sometimes, Cong has just one dialysis a week to cut costs.
These days, his disease has become terminal, and it will take a miracle to keep the 22-year-old man alive.
Cong is now in dire need of an urgent kidney transplant, which is estimated to cost a whopping VND500-700 million (up to US$33,923). Three people recently offered their kidneys to Cong, but his family doesn’t have enough money to go through with the transplant operation.
As an eighth grader, Cong was instantly mesmerized by street hiphop dance and has practiced the art form ever since.
The optimistic young man has only missed practice sessions for hospitalization and severe illness bouts.
“I probably wouldn’t have been able to last till now without my burning passion for dancing,” Cong confided.
His efforts and remarkable dancing ability astounded his doctors.
Cong’s excruciatingly hard work has finally paid off. He has earned several accolades and entered his group in many local and international dance competitions.
Considered one of the country’s leading poppers by dancing authorities, Cong was the country’s sole representative and won second prize at the 2011 R-16 Korea, an annual international b-boy tournament; and ended up second in Singapore’s Juste Debout 2012, along with winning several local prizes.
However, his dancing career will likely be cut short, as his days are running out.
“What I dread most isn’t death, but that I won’t be able to dance any more some day. At 22, I have many unfinished aspirations and plans ahead. But instead of getting depressed, I will live the last days of my life to the fullest,” Cong shared.
“Cong is a gifted and remarkably unyielding young dancer. It really hurts us to see that he’s now on the verge of death,” said Lam Vinh Hai, winner of the first season of Vietnam’s version of “So you think you can dance”, adding that he’s planning to host shows on streets, at cultural centers and at schools to raise funds for Cong’s kidney transplant surgery.
The local hiphop community held a hiphop show and competition called “Music4Life” at Cargo Bar in district 4, Ho Chi Minh City to raise funds for Hoa Duc Cong’s kidney transplant surgery.
From 9am to 6pm, more than 300 youths enthusiastically joined and watched the competition in various styles, including freestyle and popping. All the proceeds from the show will be donated to Cong’s surgery.