On May 12th a very successful lucky raffle fundraiser brought together several communities and some 300 locals, from expats to Jomtien Complex bar and restaurant owners and staff, at Your Bar to raise funds for the medical expenses and rehabilitation of Vichet Keu, a young Cambodian university student who, just one month ago, had lost his balance and fallen from a six story building. He miraculously survived but with serious injuries.
He was initially taken to the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya where he remained in a coma for three days suffering from a severe concussion and cerebral contusion as well as a broken leg. He continued his recovery at Queen Mary Vedanna Red Cross Hospital in Sriracha battling pneumonia and temporary paralysis of his left side.
His family and friends rallied to help Vichet but the bills were staggering. Good friends, Paul Raynor, local photographer and writer, and Peter Barnwell, long-time resident of Pattaya, well-known to the expat community as a compassionate and cultivated soul, were so touched by this tragic story that they decided to help.
An on-line international fundraising campaign raised close to 70,000 THB from friends across the globe and the lucky draw raffle fundraiser in May added a further 129,000 THB. In all with help from family and friends a total of 260,000 THB was raised in a little over three weeks.
Doctors cleared Vichet to return home to Cambodia to continue rehabilitative therapy a few days ago. A sizable portion of funds raised has already gone to pay hospital bills and prepare his home in Battambang, Cambodia, for his convalescence. Doctors hope for a full recovery of his body and, with luck and proper treatment, a 90 percent cognitive recovery. Doctors are unable to provide an exact prognosis, as is the case in any injury to the brain, results are unpredictable but proper rehabilitation is critical.
Messrs Barnwell and Raynor will keep a close eye on his progress, and keep the community posted on ways they can continue to support this simple act of compassion.