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Doing Good

by Brian Dunning

September 19, 2011

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Donate I am humbled by most of my friends in one way or another, but few more so than Malia Cong. As a photographer, she has, for a long time, been donating photography and media services to one of her favorite charities, Social Assistance Program for Vietnam. They provide a variety of medical and related services for rural Vietnamese who have minimal access to healthcare.

As she describes it, she felt a bit sluggish for giving only so much. So this past July, she went all the way and traveled to Vietnam with SAPVN Mobile Care's whole 97-strong crew, and spent five days giving primary optometry care. Mainly, she gave basic eye exams and handed out eyeglasses, to hundreds of people -- children, adults, and the elderly -- who had never seen clearly, and managed to continue documenting the trip with her photography. At the same time, doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals on the team gave more advanced care, of just about every type there is.

In that short time period, the team treated 955 dental patients, 1,147 optometric patients, 2,991 medical patients, and filled (are you ready for this?) 10,957 drug prescriptions.

This small story reminds us that you don't have to be a doctor to go on a medical mission. Every such charity needs volunteers. But is it unpaid? Well, just ask Malia if she got anything out of it.

The rest of the year, SAPVN operates a full time orthopedic program, where doctors in Vietnam are hired to provide care for injured or deformed people, mostly children.

SAPVN is having a fundraising dinner in Anaheim, CA on October 16, 2011. Food, entertainment, and good times will be had by all, and you know the cause it supports is a worthy one. There are many great charities in the world, and nobody can support all of them; but if you're in the area, this is a chance to meet some of those involved and hear the inspirational stories.

by Brian Dunning

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