| The fishermen – members of Phu Hai “Heart of the Sea”
Voluntary starting from the heart
“Donating blood to save lives is a volunteerism starting from the loving heart. We are the children of the sea – the mom nature that has nurtured generations and instilled a resilient spirit and strength in each fisherman and the fishing village here. With the vast and vehement salty love flowing in our veins, we are willing to share it with other lives. This is the guideline of Phu Hai “Hear of the sea” – shared Mr. Nguyen Van Viet, “leader” of the voluntary blood donation club which carries the sea’s soul. The smile of the young man experiencing 41 times of blood donations, many of which were live donations and platelet donations, that timely aid patients in the struggle between life and death, was warm and shiny as the drops of red blood he has given away.
In 2020, during the peak of the complicated situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, with strict isolation restrictions in place; while everyone was restricted from coming to public places and limited interactions for self-protection, receiving the information that the little boy named Tran Van B. in Phong Hai (Phong Dien district) was critically ill, needing urgent blood transfusion after being transferred from the Hospital 2 in Phong Dien district to Hue Central Hospital for treatment, Mr. Viet immediately went across nearly 20km to do the live blood donation, saving the life of the 10-year-old little boy.
The parents of B. were emotionally moved as they recalled that they had limited information beyond a name and his gesture of sharing life. Yet, when they revisited Phu Hai, they were effortlessly led to the place, as the local people were well aware of a person well-known as the “leader” and the “Heart of the Sea”, - the club that has been sharing countless warm bloodstreams for over a decade, bringing about a revival in numerous lives.
Having undergone treatment in the special care ward on the 6th floor of Hue Central Hospital, with a body entwined with various tubes, medical devices, and a fragile life, Mrs. Le Thi Th. from Thuy Van, Huong Thuy district cried tears of joy upon “returning to the sunlight”. She came to understand the humanitarian value of voluntary blood donation, as her restored life bore the imprint of the Phu Hai “Heart of the Sea”. The urgent need for a blood transfusion was so critical that at that moment, Mr. Viet was also taken to the hospital room on the 6th floor to directly donate blood to Mrs. Th. for a full hour.
“5 days later, upon hearing the news of that elderly woman's recovery and her departure from the intensive care room, my heart felt light. The joy extended as Mrs. Th. returned to a happy and peaceful life,” Mr. Nguyen Van Viet expressed with his smile radiating like sunshine.
With nearly 70 members, for over a decade since its establishment, the Phu Hai “Heart of the Sea”, regardless of late nights, or harsh weather with chilling rain and wind, has covered distances of several dozen kilometers to Hue Central Hospital to donate blood and provide emergency platelet donations to save lives.
In addition, during every voluntary blood donation campaign organized by the Red Cross at all levels, the “Heart of the Sea” group consistently exceeds the set targets. Each member in the club willingly contributes, as the precious drops of blood carrying the message of the “Heart of the Sea” with its love and compassion that have helped many lives endure.
| Mr. Le Van Hoa Duong in his once joining in blood donation
“I am a fisherman from Phu Hai, floating on the sea for half a month at a time, loving the ocean with a bond of blood. Particularly, the fishing trips to the Paracel Islands, while simultaneously asserting sovereignty over the seas, have made that love even more sacred,” shared Le Van Tien, a fisherman and a member of the voluntary blood donation club called “Heart of the Sea” in Phu Hai, as he begins his story straight from the heart.
Mr. Tien mentioned that the sea provides a source of fish and shrimp, allowing fishermen to develop the economy and build a prosperous life. Starting as a 12-year-old apprentice following his father to the sea on a small and fragile boat, Tien is now the owner of a large vessel with nearly 800 horsepower, nearly 17 meters in length. He braves the waves, fishing far offshore, creating jobs and a stable income for a crew of 10. However, the sea also harbors numerous dangers, especially during sudden storms. At sea, fishermen exhibit unwavering love, unity, and mutual support to overcome storms. In early November 2023, all 12 crew members on a fishing boat owned by Mr. Tran Minh Khanh (residing in Vinh Thanh, Phu Vang, as the owner) encountered a disaster but were safely brought ashore by another vessel.
“Particularly, the love, constant monitoring, and timely rescue efforts from the mainland have saved fishermen from the brink of life and death. At the end of 2021, the local authorities, border guard forces, and fishing vessels braved the rough waves in the dark to rescue 13 fishermen from Thuan An ward who were in distress in the open sea. Sharing those precious drops of blood in their veins is how the sea's children repay the gift of life”, shared Tran Van Co, a member of “Heart of the Sea” and a fisherman who has donated blood nearly 20 times, pouring out his feelings.
Listening to the waves of the “Heart of the Sea”, echoing with noble and beautiful gestures, allows one to feel how life continuously connects the shores of love. As I am composing this article, it is also the time when Mr. Le Van Hoa Duong (a teacher at Phu An Middle School, Phu Vang), one of the 16 outstanding youth in the entire province, is honored by the Provincial Youth Union at the ceremony honoring exemplary voluntary blood donation youth of 2023. He is now connecting with the Head of the “Heart of the Sea” Voluntary Blood Donation Club in Phu Hai, volunteering to join their cause.
The teacher, with 43 times of voluntary blood donation (including 20 platelet donations), emotionally states that they will continue to silently give, wanting to harmonize with the rhythmic heartbeat of that great heart. They aspire to collectively bring vibrant life to the world.