HOW is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in the USA, whose staff consists of all volunteers. Its mission is to provide hope and care to neglected, abandoned, and orphaned children in deprived areas of the world with a specific focus on VietNam.
This blog was written by a very wonderful Helping Orphans Worldwide, HOW VIP (Volunteer Immersion Program) volunteer nurse. Nurse Milly comes from Australia and this year 2012, has been her second year of volunteering with HOW. Nurse Milly spend the entire year learning about EB (Epidermolysis Bullosa), as HOW only began the EB program after learning about EB a little less then a year ago. For more information on EB and HOW's EB program please visit:
Please enjoy Nurse Milly's blog, she is a delight and a gift...
This is a story about a dream, a dream that silently waited in my heart until the time was right, a dream that I now know many people have and a dream that by God's grace became a reality.
When I first found out about HOW 3 years ago, I decided to meet Anna, one of the HOW volunteers, and immediately I knew that things would start to fall into place.
Then the time came for my first trip to Vietnam and my first night here; I had a panic attack! I got down on my knees and said, “God, please help me I have been doing the talk, now I have to walk the walk”. And help came; I met someone whom I will refer to as “Dr. Wonderful” and saw his amazing work at the hospital he runs with his wonderful wife. I worked with Sara, who I had met in Melbourne, another amazing volunteer and HOW board member and the pain, hurt, disbelief and deep sorrow walked hand in hand with gratitude, strength, love, compassion and yes, happiness.
I saw things and experienced the lives of many who are broken but never beaten, who still believe there is goodness in humanity though they have no possible reason to think that way.
Then, Hillary discovered Epidermolysis Bullosa, and my next adventure into the unknown began.
First time I saw the DVD, I was physically sick, and did not think it was possible for me to ever take this on.... but God had other plans, and I studied the disease, went to the Sydney clinic, met the people and incredible health professionals and families, went to a three day national conference in Melbourne, and received donations of dressings, more info and education and great support.
DebRA Australia, Brightsky Australia, Sydney children hospital EB scheme and more, even the wound and stomal therapist in my own hospital could not do enough to help, and my collogues at work as well as my family spurred me on.
The talk at Nhi Dong 2 Hospital (Children’s Hospital 2)
in Ho Chi Minh City, only took place because of Dr. Tram (also a HOW board member and full time volunteer) who has been working for years to make this disease known to the authorities as well as working with sufferers and Hillary Brown, the most tenacious, incredibly strong , never say no kind of person I have ever met, as well as the co-founder of HOW and a dear, dear friend(sorry Hillary, but you are my hero!)
So we did it , we talked to nurses, we were allowed time with nurses, we sowed the seeds for hope and acceptance, and really my input was minuscule compared to the huge workload of others!!!
The head of the burns unit at Nhi Dong Hai (Children’s Hospital 2) and the nurses are so impossibly busy, understaffed and overwhelmed with their every day workload but they sat and listened and asked pertinent questions!
They loved my baby doll model with all kinds of wounds glued on, which I made to demonstrate wound care without having to scare a child during the process (thank you Gail, that was your idea). They loved the little gloves that Erica (another nurse from work) put together, they appreciated the donations of wound materials and the books translated by Dr. Tram.
It will take time, it will take money and it will take a huge commitment from all involved.. the work will never stop...(two more desperate cases have just been found) and HOW will be helping these children of course with wound care supplies and to educate their families about proper wound care!
We could not have possibly imagined a better result and having the head of the department shake my hand and thank me in English was the icing on the cake.... I actually wanted to kiss him.... but that is my passionate Italian soul coming out!!
Thank you Hillary for believing in me, thank you Kerri, Aisling and Fiona for cheering me on and supporting me on the day, and thank you Dr. Tram, for your translating, calm disposition and smile that would calm raging seas.
Finally, today after having visited an HIV/AIDS orphanage and cuddled, kissed , dried and put nappies on little ones, as well as donating money from nurses in Melbourne, I saw more love in action. This was followed by a buying spree for my doctor friends hospital with money from Melbourne nurses again....
Vietnam... I love you and I hate you at the same time.....but I just cannot let you go....
HOW, you changed my life... Tony , my dearest husband and love of my life... Thank you.
Please view photos for this blog, we think you will really enjoy them!
Please visit if you would like to make a donation where 100% of your donations will go to support EB: Transparent Fish Fund
TFISH FUND BLOG
We update news and reports directly from the field written by our NGO partners daily.
PHOTOS & VIDEOS
IN THE NEWS