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71-Year-Old Saigon Man With Cancer Cares For Best Friend With Mental Illness, Supporting Him By Doing Odd Jobs

Saigon man with cancer takes care of friend with memory loss

“Till death do us part” is a famous vow about commitment throughout all the trials of life that we often hear newlywed couples exchange with each other. While this verse is usually about romantic love, it is also beautifully manifested in the story of Mr Đình Long and Mr Lương Huỳnh Thái, two 71-year-old friends in Saigon who have been together in sickness and in health. 

For these two friends, their mutual devotion has far surpassed friendship and blossomed into a special kind of kinship. Despite battling stomach cancer himself, Mr Long is still working hard every day so that he can provide for Mr Thái, his friend suffering from memory loss.

Their friendship has lasted for 6 decades

Saigon friendship
Mr Thái (left) and Mr Long (right)
Image credit: Thanh Nien

The friendship between Mr Long and Mr Thái began 6 decades ago, when they both were in 7th grade in a junior high school in Saigon. Little did either of them know that their friendship would go on for another 6 decades. 

About 10 years ago, Mr Thái had an accident in which his leg was broken. Because neither of them was married, Mr Long decided to move in with Mr Thái in a rented flat to take care of him.

In 2019, Mr Thái suffered severe memory loss after a gallbladder removal surgery. 

Saigon friendship
Image credit: Thanh Nien

Because he can’t remember anyone, he spends most of his time on his bed watching TV and rarely speaks to anyone. The only memory he has left at this point is his best friend, Mr Long. 

Saigon friendship
Mr Long taking care of his friend
Image credit: Thanh Nien

Mr Long struggles to provide for his friend despite suffering from cancer

Saigon friendship
Image credit: Thanh Nien

Even though Mr Long is battling stomach cancer himself, he is still juggling odd jobs to provide for his friend and himself. Having cancer sounds like a death sentence to many people, but it doesn’t stop Mr Long from making a living since his friend is not able to care for himself. Due to his commitment to his friend and his financial situation, cancer treatment is off the table. 

From shipping delivery to working in iron factories to giving motorbike rides, Mr Long does everything to put food on the table while he still can. 

“When Thái saw me working hard, he said that he would look for a job as a security guard so that we could share our financial burden. However, he broke his arm in an accident. Poor him.” Mr Long said. 

Saigon friendship
Image credit: Thanh Nien

On days when his pockets are empty, Mr Long wanders around the city to find places that offer free meals so he can bring some food home for Mr Thái. There were days when he even starved himself to save food for his friend. 

“I did think about leaving him behind, but I couldn’t. He’s a very gullible person, so he was cheated of his money many times. If he’s on his own on the roads, he’ll get lost. Once he got lost and burst into tears when he saw me. I think our fates are intertwined as our parents share the same death anniversaries,” Mr Long shared with Thanh Nien in an emotional tone. 

Saigon man with cancer takes care of friend

It’s a privilege to have a true friend with whom we can share the hardships of life and celebrate small joys. 

Even though life has dealt Mr Thái hard blows, it has also blessed him with a precious friend who comforts and cherishes him in sickness and in health. 

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Cover image adapted from: Thanh Nien

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