Le Cuong - "to live is to give"

Everyday, on the road from Tien Thuy to the Thanh Trieu crossroads, passerbys often see a 30-year-old man on wheelchair selling lottery tickets to passing people. So does his life go by, and he finds life full of joy not only from his daily earnings, but also from the compassionate looks from many kind-hearted people.


"My legs are the unfatigued wheels
Are the confidence given by others
I must live! To live it good in each of breath
And my wheels rolling to the future"

(Le Cuong)

I met Cuong on the festival night of "Good Person and Good Deed" held by the province's Cultural and Information Center. And I soon became his confidential friend to compassionately hear the sad story of his own life.

It is not easy for Cuong to struggle for his life. He didn't "step" his first step into life but did "roll" his first wheels. His life-time friend is the old and shagged wheelchair that was given to him by his uncle. At the age of 9, he lost his power to stand on himself for his legs had been paralyzed from a malignant attack of poliomyelitis. It was a great pain for his family, especially his mother who would have to give up her chance to mentor his first steps into life. Cuong was growing up in love and care of his family and relatives. And they helped nourish in Cuong the courage to stand up in life, on the wheelchair.

The wheelchair was not only his soul-mate but also an indispensable part of his body. Thanks to it, he was able to releave parts of the burden for his family. Poverty had forced his family to move to Dong Nai province for a life remaking. Cuong, however decided to stay at home and did the work of battery recharging for a living.

Time was going by just as quietly as Cuong's very character, until one day when he turned 16, a battery explosion caused severe burns, and Cuong had to stay in bed and cure for 6 years. He finally recovered but his left arm was no longer able to move. He had to use his right arm to do everything. Still, he could use his right arm to satisfy his indulgence for arts and to sell lottery tickets to earn his living.

Soon, Cuong felt he was much happier than many people. And he always thought that he should do something for them! He thought he could understand to the most that the desire to be shared and given a helping hand was always burning in those unhappy folks.


Cuong's plight emtionally moved many. So he was given a new wheelchair by the Orthopedic Center in Ho Chi Minh City. But the new wheelchair didn't stay with him for long enough. Just a few days later, Cuong gave it to Ms Nguyen Thi Ai, a 50-year-old woman living in Tien Tay Thuong Village, whose legs were paralyzed out of a spinal injury. He continued with his "old friend", always broke down. Again, the Protestant Church in Thanh Trieu Commune, overhearing of his generous act, gave him another new wheelchair with improved rocking handle. Now, it was more convenient for him to travel around with his lottery tickets selling. But, one more time, his generous charity opened to give. He couldn't stand seeing an old mother pushing her daughter on an old and heavy wheelchair. So the new handle-rocking wheelchair was changed hands. Cuong return to his daily routine with one hand rolling the wheel, the other hand holding lottery tickets to sell for life.

For Cuong, it was quite natural to do that. He didn't even weigh between the gain and loss. Cuong just cared of one thing, he felt happy whenever he gave away something to somebody. Once, he said, he himself also dreamt of a wheelchair to roll and live a useful life. He was lucky enough to have many kind-hearted around him, who were willing to give anything he needed. And he tthought that, why not give it away to other poor and miserable people? And that's Le Cuong!

During leasure times, Le Cuong also made verses of poem about love for his mother, father and friends, and love, too. "I myself also dream of a small family of my own," Cuong said.

One more secret that won't be known if Cuong does not reveal himself is that, the great desire in him at the moment is to have a chance to visit Uncle Ho's Mausoleum in Ha Noi. He has to work harder, Cuong said, so that he may be able to realize that.

Cuong, an energetic paralytic, is a real man of gorgeous humanity. He considers "to live is to give" as the motto of his life.

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