by Winston Chua
Imagine waking up with more on your plate than you’ve ever bargained for, with pressing problems to solve that truly threaten to overwhelm you.
Imagine that your son has just been diagnosed with a cranial hemorrhage and you’re left, all alone, wondering what it is you should do.
The scene I’ve just described is a glimpse into the lives of the Nguyen parents, Simy and Han, whose son Nathan suffered a serious brain bleed in the fall of 2013. They’ve come a long way since then, in part because of their faith and commitment to their family and in part because the Carver community has banded together and leant their strong support.
To formulate how to best care for their son in his newfound circumstances, Simy decided not to teach this year at Pomona Unified School District. Her husband, an engineer, asked his boss for some time off work so he could be near his son.
Carver parents, who hardly knew each other or the Nguyen family, also came to their aid in this difficult time with meals or car rides for their daughter, Caitlin. One friend, Linda Suetsugu, set up a website which helped the family receive dinner to their house each night, from October all the way through December.
“The community really came in numbers to support the family when they didn’t have time to cook or think about anything more than caring for their son,” said Hal Suetsugu. “Carver families are very tight.”
These thoughtful gestures afforded Simy and her husband the opportunity to devote more of their complete attention to Nathan and his older sister. Simy read Bible stories to Nathan each day, never leaving his side.
“We learned to trust God through this experience,” said Simy. “We felt God’s presence when He comforted us by surrounding us with our pastors, Christian friends, His Words, our friends and family and our community.”
Friends came to visit Nathan, and Carver Principal Elizabeth Hollingsworth provided support as well, even though visitors were only allowed on the weekends. His best friends Kyle and Rylan have offered him great encouragement.
All the support has brought restoration to Nathan. Once unable to move from the neck down, he’s started speaking and is learning to walk again. He’s able to eat solid foods now and his lively personality has returned. His reading and writing skills have returned and “he basically remembers everything,” his mom added. Nathan has indeed come a long way from the time he could only communicate through blinking.
Nathan’s prognosis is a positive one. Doctors say that it may take a year for him to experience a full recovery, but because of his youth, Nathan will not only be able to survive what he went through, but has hopes for thriving.
Just one month ago Nathan won a Pinewood Derby division competition. In the school-wide competition he placed second overall.
One verse from the Bible has stood out in particular to Simy comes from the book of James: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
The Nguyen family is grateful for the encouragement of the community. Some of the people who helped bring them food during their time of need were: Siobhan Gamito, Wei Widjaja, Anh Nguyen, Peter Ly, Linda Hui, Doris Cheung, Lilian Tuey, Jennifer Chuang, Ivy Yang, Holly Larsen, Miho Park, Donald Gillman, Melissa Short, Nancy Montiague, Danielle Gregg, Jacqueline Tran, Yoshiko Miki, Gina McRae, Maria Villamil, Grace Karkafi, Sylvia Koh, Ruth Walker, Sue Nesnas, Valerie Esguerra, Cissy Raymond, Homeira Asghari, Sunny Qu, Chiewlin Tan, Arabella Hancock, Jacqueline Liao, Stephanie Redding and Michelle Rose.