Tens of thousands attend charity event to support children with cancer in Vietnam
A charity event was organized in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday morning to support children suffering cancer, with 10,000 people attending.
The 8th annual event, “Sunflower Festival,” took place at the Phu My Hung urban area in District 7 in the southern city and Cau Giay Park in the capital to raise funds for children with cancer throughout Vietnam.
The fest in Ho Chi Minh City, which was attended by 5,000 people, was kick-started with thousands of yellow balloons being released into the sky, followed by a 2km-long charity walk, in which the city-based ECO Pharma Joint Stock Company donated VND30,000 ($1.34) for each registrant.
Among the attendees at the opening ceremony were Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, Chairman of the Vietnamese Student Association Le Quoc Phong, Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Tang Huu Phong, and other local officials.
A series of activities were also featured at the event, including music performances, paper sunflower making, handmade sunflower sales, exhibitions of paintings drawn by child cancer patients, fundraising flea markets, and many more.
Many young volunteers gathered on a small hill to take pictures with a giant artificial sunflower 7.4 meters in diameter.
About 150 scholarships – VND5 million (US$224) each – were given to children suffering cancer who have recovered from their illness and returned to school.
Roughly 800 gifts worth VND200,000 ($9) apiece were presented to child cancer patients undergoing treatment in nine hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City.
The portrait-sketching area was packed, as many people were willing to pay for the drawings as a form of donation to the kids.
An area exclusively designated for the wishes written by 400 child cancer patients brought tears to the participants.
“They are just simple wishes yet keep us thinking about how to fulfill them and make up for the losses of the children,” a participant said.
Some 5,000 people also flocked to the event in Hanoi and showed their support for children with cancer.
The “Sunflower Festival,” which was in its 8th year, commemorates the death of Le Thanh Thuy, a high school girl famous for her long fight against bone cancer prior to her death on November 2, 2007.
It also promotes the work of “Thuy’s Dream Foundation," set up byTuoi Tre to support children with cancer.
This year’s event was organized by the newspaper in collaboration with the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City chapters of the Vietnam Youth Federation.
The worth of donations accumulated over the years passed VND16 billion (US$712,000) in October 2015.
Participants gather under a giant artificial sunflower at the “Sunflower Festival” in Ho Chi Minh City on November 22, 2015. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Children suffering cancer are seen giving a performance at the “Sunflower Festival” in Ho Chi Minh City on November 22, 2015. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Children with cancer give a dance performance at the “Sunflower Festival” in Hanoi on November 22, 2015. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Giant sunflowers made from paper at the event in Hanoi. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Volunteers are seen selling products to donate to child cancer patients at the festival in Hanoi. Photo: Tuoi Tre