A special anniversary for Son Pham, the boy who captured our hearts
Published Thursday, February 7, 2013 7:22PM AST
Last Updated Thursday, February 7, 2013 7:24PM AST
Son Pham quickly captured the hearts of Canadians and became a household name when he moved here from Vietnam to have a large facial growth removed.
Pham was only 10 years old when he first arrived in Halifax in Oct. 2007. After more than 20 surgeries and a remarkable transformation, he left to go home to Vietnam three years ago today.
“He really has gone home. It is the home that he’s known,” says Olwyn Walter who, along with her family, cared for Pham during his time in Halifax.
“He has many, many friends. He’s thriving the way that any parent would want to hear their child is thriving.”
Walter has kept in contact with Pham, both on the phone and through email, with the help of his older sister who is studying English.
“So, he’s quite advanced in English, math and computers, and from what I understand, from Son as well as his sister, he’s doing really well in all of his subjects,” says Walter.
Pham now lives with his mother, father and older sister in a farming village in Vietnam. Walter says he’s a typical teen who is happy and keeps busy with his friends.
“Son built a kite not that long ago. Quite often after school and on the weekends they’ll fly their kites.”
Doctors who worked with Pham are pleased with what they see in pictures.
“They were surprised at how much facial control he has, and it didn’t seem to have grown at all really, so that’s very, very encouraging,” says Walter.
“He’s so handsome and I can just see from him in the photos just how confident he is in himself.”
Walter says Pham will likely need more treatment when he reaches his 20s, and there is money left over in a reserve in the Maritimes to help with travel costs and medical expenses. The money could also help with his education.
St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Sackville, N.B. is a trustee for the funds, as Pham’s caregivers have ties to the church.
Rev. Canon Kevin Stockall didn’t know Pham personally, but says he is inspired by the boy’s story.
“The best memory is the memory of having seen people work diligently to raise funds to care for him a second chance when he would not have had the second chance otherwise,” says Stockall.
Pham turns 16 this Saturday.
“I hope that as he turns 16, he’s thinking more about what he might want to do with his life,” says Walter.
“When he thinks of his life going forward that he pictures it with a family of his own, and that’s what I would like for him.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster
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