On Friday my girlfriend and I had the opportunity to be a part of a very special story. Colin McFadden, 5, was adopted from Vietnam at 14 months to a family from Nevada. A few years ago his family found out that he had a rare disorder that could only be cured by a bone marrow transplant.
His family contacted the adoption agency in Vietnam to see if it was possible to find any of Colin’s family members. The adoption agency did their best and found that Colin had a brother, Tho Van Luong, and that he was Colin’s perfect match.
While Luong wanted to help his brother he was dealing with a crisis of his own. His own son was diagnosed to have a tumor, and his family could not pay for the operation. The McFadden’s offered to pay for his son’s operation, but Luong said that they should save the money for Colin. They gave Luong the money anyway. As Colin’s nephew, they felt it was a small cost to help save both of the children.
With the $600 operation paid for and Luong’s son well and back in school he made the long journey from Vietnam to San Francisco. He had never traveled on a plane before, and was very nervous for the 14 hour trip that spanned over 14,000 miles. Though, when he arrived at San Francisco International Airport he said that he was “not nervous about the operation, or wouldn’t have traveled to America.”
Luong will be in the US for a month and undergo much preparation for the operation including dental work to minimize the chance of infection. On April 9th the family will travel back to California from Nevada to begin the process of Colin’s bone marrow transplant at Children’s Hospital in Oakland.
This, while very different, was not an unfamiliar feeling for my girlfriend who immigrated to the US from Vietnam when she was just 5 years old. Her family came in a group of about seven to SFO from the Saigon area in the early 90’s. She was very happy to be able to help Luong communicate with Colin for their first meeting.
This story is one that neither of us will ever forget. When I started my internship with KTVU I had no idea that I would be able to witness something so personal and special, but it made a lot of sense. That is what the news is all about. You have the ability to tell the stories of others at the best and worst or even most inspiring times of their lives. I am truly looking forward to my career in news and the opportunity to tell many stories like this one in the future.
To watch the full story visit KTVU.com: Brother flies from Vietnam to help save young brother’s life.
ABC 7 KGO coverage: Bone marrow donor travels to SF to help adopted brother.