400 cancer patients get free bus rides home for Tet holidays

By Thanh Nguyen   January 24, 2017 | 07:53 pm PT
'It has been a year since I've been home.'

The buses were scheduled to arrive at around 1p.m., but some patients and their relatives decided to gather several hours earlier.


Nguyen Thi Chan (67) from Dak Lak said she felt excited as it was her first free ride home for Tet. "When I heard about the free bus ride, i was so happy. Because of my health problems, I have to travel back and forth to Saigon all the time and it costs a lot. This free bus ride will be helpful," said Chan.


While waiting for the bus to arrive, Hnih Eya from Dak Lak uses a marker pen to write notes on her bags to stop them from going missing. "It has been a year since I've been home because I have to stay in the hospital for my cancer treatment," said Eya.


Nguyen Thi Soa, also from Dak Lak, shows her ticket for the free bus ride. Soa said she has been staying in the hospital for breast cancer treatment for two years. "This free bus ride will save me some money. In February, I will come back to Saigon for treatment again," said Soa.


While waiting for the bus to go back to the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau, Pham Tan Phong feeds his father - Pham Van Ngoc, using a syringe. "The journey will take several hours so I've tried to give my dad some food to make sure he has enough strength for the trip," said Phong.


Luu Thi Le Dung tries to wrap her father up before getting on the bus. "My dad was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer a year ago, and the treatment is quite costly. This free bus ride, for us, is really a godsend," said Dung.


A patient named Huynh Khoa volunteered to holds a sign to guide other patients and their relatives, even with a breathing tube and his barely audible voice.


Patient Pham Xuan Ben waits anxiously for the buses to arrive.


Volunteers from Red Cross Thien Tam and other chapters in Binh Thanh District, the Smile 3 eatery and the HCMC Oncology Hospital prepare food for the patients. According to the organizers, the costs of the buses and the food were all covered by donors.


Patients and their families from Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Nha Trang help each other to pack their luggage onto a bus.


"By tomorrow morning I will be home," said patient Pham Xuan Ben, with a big smile. In photo: Cancer patients from Phu Yen Province.


The patients wave goodbye before heading back home to enjoy the biggest holiday in Vietnam with their families.

Related news:

> Doctors once again warn of sharp rise in new cancer cases in Vietnam

> Hanoi offers free cancer screening for residents with health insurance

> Vietnam comes in at 78th in global ranking of cancer: WHO

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