The Young and the Elderly

– a story of mutual benefit.

Dorothy Stoner is proving that you are never too old or frail to help others less fortunate than yourself. Ninety-five year old Dorothy is the widow of Ron Stoner, a dedicated Toc H member for many years. She is cared for at Emmaus nursing home in Brisbane by the Sisters of Mercy. Dorothy has a special friend in Vietnam, a young girl named Xuan (pronounced Swan), who is also dependent on others for her daily care.

Xuan was a healthy 11 year old when she fell from a raised concrete platform while playing with her brother in their very basic home, which formerly housed prisoners working at the adjacent brick kiln. Sadly, Xaun’s spinal injuries left her a paraplegic. Her family is so poor that they could not afford any medical treatment so Xuan mostly lay on her concrete bed. Sometimes her family borrowed a wheelchair from an elderly neighbour so they could take her out.

Thankfully Roslyn Jackson, Director of Youth With A Mission Vietnam, found Xuan while visiting her commune to assess families and their children for education assistance. Xuan is a very cheerful and creative girl who really wanted to return to school, but just providing school books and a uniform was not enough. Xuan needed much more assistance to enable her to attend school.

When Toc H approached Dorothy with the information about Xuan’s tragic circumstances, she was very willing to finance whatever assistance Xuan needed. Now Xuan has her own wheelchair and she was able to join the other children in receiving her schoolbag and school supplies. She has been promoted to Grade Four even though she has missed a lot of schooling. The teachers are confident that with her intelligence and enthusiasm she will soon catch up to her classmates.

Xuan was taken to Hanoi for a series of in-patient treatments, however a scan has shown little improvement, so she has returned home. Dorothy’s help has also enabled YWAM to provide her with a water mattress so she no longer has to sleep on concrete and suffer the resultant bed sores.

This wonderful story shows that even a person who is frail, elderly and needing high care themselves can continue to help others with their money, their love and their prayers. Toc H makes it possible by building bridges of love and friendship that reach across continents, cultures and political ideologies to bring together the needy and those whose greatest need is to be needed.