How to help Little Zy help others

Unspun‘s cousin who lives in Bangkok, Walter, had a baby recently whom he called Zy. Zy has one complete left arm, half a right arm,  no right leg,  a malformed left leg with three toes and dislocated hip joints, but otherwise he’s a normal baby.

It is a source of pride that this cousin, whom Unspun has not seen enough over the years, has not only managed to handle this circumstance, that many people would consider a misfortune, with determination and fortitude but also to turn it around so that as he seeks to treat Zy, he can also help other children with with similar disabilities as Zy.Little Zy

He is now looking for some help, not in the form of money, but in documenting Zy’s treatment so that the technology can be used in Asia. Here’s his moving story and what sort of help he is looking for:

If you are a parent and/or
if you are a leader of a group and/or
if you are living in Thailand (and I am all of the above)….this would be something of interest to you.

My name is Walter Lee and I have been living in Thailand since 1989. I am the CEO of Venturetec Marketing Company Limited (Thailand), I am married to Nok. We have 3 great kids, V, Mij and Zy and we all live in Bangkok.

Little Zy is now 15 months old (I call him my little Professor) and is an absolute ball of fun. He was born with one complete left arm,

half a right arm,
no right leg,
a malformed left leg with three toes and
dislocated hip joints. He is otherwise just like any other baby.

He took our whole family and hospital (rated one of the top ones in this part of the world) by surprise the day he was born, the morning of September 30, 2006. (Yes, we had gone through the ultra-sound on the 18th week of Nok’s pregnancy and it wasn’t detected.)

The first 3 months after his birth was holding the family together, V was 3, Mij was 1 and Nok just couldn’t believe how she could have carried little Zy for 9 months, followed all the doctors advice and not know all of this was coming?? She was crying most of the time while still taking care of the 3 children.

All I had wanted was for my family to be happy.

I had no time to waste being sad or shocked anymore.

I knew this was only the beginning and I have psyched myself up to embark on this journey of discovery, to a dimension that I would have otherwise very likely overlooked in this lifetime. Little Zy had come with a message for his old man.

I needed to accomplish 3 things in the following order,

1) I needed to get Nok back because the chances of succeeding in whatever without Nok will be slim.
2) I needed to make sure little Zy is cheerful and happy. Cheeriness breeds optimism and without optimism in the little fella, the chances of succeeding with whatever treatments will be slim.
3) I needed to make sure little Zy is not deprived of ANYTHING that he would be entitled to experience if he was otherwise born with a full set of complete limbs.

Nok stopped crying everyday after 3 months. She was strong and she knew the only way to treat/nurture Little Zy was by treating ourselves first. We talked a lot about it and we brought little Zy out a lot, not so much because we had wanted to see the city but we needed to get used to the way the world will be looking at our family, awed, surprised, sympathetic or a mixture of. Going out together a lot and talking about it a lot was very therapeutic and happy to say we are a lot stronger and in the process, have grown even closer together. I think my first objective had been achieved.

Little Zy is a ball of fun and surprises. He grabs at everthing, crawls everywhere, rolls around like a ball, swims fearlessly like a driftwood, has a great appetite, does funny baby talks, arm-wrestles his elder brother, laughs and cries a lot and climbs up 2 flights of stairs ON HIS OWN!! I supposed my second objective had also been achieved.

Over the year, we have been to numerous hospitals in this part of the world, sought for assistance from different groups and associations, e-consulted  from one continent to another, talking to peadiatric orthorpeadic specialists about little Zy’s case and his chances of standing and walking and have just time and again, been told to be patient, and to wait and see. He will turn out ok because at least his brains are functioning ok. That wasn’t good enough for me!! I knew Zy will be able to get around fine in a wheel chair but that just wasn’t enough for me! I wanted him to have an option to stand and walk if he so chooses to. This desire of mine had led me to make the following discovery…

(Deep inside me, I have a nagging fear that what if I eventually stumble across a cure or treatment but am unable to provide for it for whatever reasons….).

Thailand has more than 2 million disabled people, many which don’t even get integrated into the main stream of society, certainly not by choice, I think. Many of them shun main stream because main stream shuns them, unfortunately sometimes unknowingly.

There is a pediatric orthopedic specialist, Professor Carsten at the University of Heidelberg to whom I had been introduced to by this good samaritan couple/great friends and had visited last October in Germany. Prof Carsten and his team of prosthetic specialist tell me they are 80% confident they can make little Zy stand and walk. They showed me their work and gave me a prognosis of what, when and how they will be treating little Zy in the next few years (7 treatments in 5 years to be precise with each treatment lasting anywhere fron 4 to 6 weeks) . I was overwhelmed and hopeful again. That is exactly what I have been looking for for the past 12 months.

I told the Professor that I will have to return home and discuss with my wife first. This is a major decision for the family. There is a big financial concern and also a logistical one. Nok will have to be with little Zy throughout all his treatments and while she is away for all the extended treatments, who will be looking after our other children, V and Mij. We made a decision that we will go ahead with the treatment no matter what.

The thought of the millions of disabled people in Thailand came into my mind.

It is brutally apparent that the developed nations have the luxury of attaching more quality and value to lives.
It is brutally apparent that the medical know-how in this area in Germany is years ahead of what we have here in Thailand.

If I shall be spending all these resources to treat one child, why can’t the treatment process to properly documented and disseminated so that potentially hundreds of thousands of disabled people might benefit from it? So if one cannot afford to use the best of materials like what they use in Germany, maybe they can use plywood or bamboo here. The important thing is understanding and learning the treatment process.
(Little Zy’s case is 1 in the millions because the growth of all his limbs are random and he has dislocated hip-joints. It would have been easier to treat if any of the upper or lower limbs were symmetrical.) The logic is if the doctors in Germany are 80% confident of treating little Zy, then the lesser cases would even be more treatable.

I would not know how to professionally document the treatment process for future reference.

I am writing to you to join me in helping these millions of physically disabled people by giving them a chance that they might otherwise be deprived of.

If you or your organization can in anyway influence a medical professional(s)/institution(s) to learn and study from little Zy’s treatment process (which will begin in March 2008), and to use that to help the millions of  physically disabled people, please contact me.

I can be reached at <> .

God bless.

Walter Lee and family

7 thoughts on “How to help Little Zy help others

  1. dear unspun,

    you filed this touching story under ‘disabled’, if am not mistaken, it should be “diffable (not disability but different ability)” ? … sorry for being cerewet…

    saya terharu membaca ungkapan hati Ayah Zy, I believe, Tuhan punya rencana yang indah untuk Zy dan saya berdoa bagi kebahagiaannya dan keluarganya yang luar biasa.


  2. I met your cousin Walter Lee in an exhibition in KL. He’s a great and down to earth guy. Me and my wife had been more alert and aware of little zy since he mentioned to us.

    I hope for the best for him. god bless…


  3. Just seen Little Professor’s DVD. Filled me with great joy and emotions. My god grandson is only two plus and is now learning to walk with prosthesis leg as well as coping with dislocated hip joints. This gives us much encouragement. Will bring disc to Perth next week for his parents. Zy and his parents are a source of inspiration that mere words would not be able to express. We understand as we face challenges with little Jake as well due to his other problems. He was born with Vatreal syndrome and limb defiency was one of his many medical challenges but family support and medical advances in Australia made it possible for him to come this far. For those in similar situations, never give up and approach it positively like Walter and Nok. God bless you and your family….


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