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The "Bear Boy" Project

Background: This is a particularly touching story about a eleven year old boy from Phuket. He is known as “Nong Mee” (Which means “Bear Boy”). The local villagers call him this name because he is unable to walk upright and he uses all four limbs to get around.
His parents come from the Koh Sireh Village, the poorest area in Phuket and they had no money to send him to a doctor to find out what his real problem was. He was declared a retard and that was it. His social skills and education are very limited as he has spent most of his time crawling around the village.

Following the Tsunami Disaster in Phuket, a group of volunteers from another foundation found this boy and put him in a special school for mentally disabled children., believing that he is mentally challenged.

Lions Club Activity:
In July 2005 our Lions Club members became aware of this boy whilst  visiting the Gypsy Village. After many visits to the village the boy started to trust him and was able to learn a lot more about him. Finally we took Nong Mee to the Bangkok Phuket Hospital  which is widely known the best hospital in Phuket, especially for it’s high technology and medical investigation and diagnosis equipment.  Luckily the Assistant Hospital Director, Dr. Sompoch Nipakanont is a close friend of our Lions Club and granted us around 50% discount on all check up costs for Nong Mee.

Treatment: He received a C.T. Scan and a M.R.I. Test (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and the best care in a private room for two days. The overall diagnosis from the Pediatric Specialist, Physical Therapy Specialist, Pediatric Neurologist Specialist and the Dermatology Specialist was as follows:
1. Celebral Palsy caused by cerebellar degeneration (stabilization problem)
2. Mental retardation (caused by many years of isolation)

3. Flat Foot condition

Nong Mee's X-Ray

Normal Brain

Therapy: As the x-ray of Nong Mee’s brain shows the only abnormal part of his brain is the part that is responsible for movement (Flocculus Cerebelli), his brain is otherwise mentally healthy.
Other x-rays of his hand and feet show a clear deformation of his bones due to years of walking on 4 limbs. The doctors explained us that this boy can probably walk if his physical therapy would begin as soon as possible. More years of walking with hands & feet would deform his bones to an extent where there would be no hope for him to walk normally..
He needs help now!

We will try everything possible to give this boy all the physical therapy and medication that he needs to become a normal boy. His treatment will include:

-Physical exercises by specialized therapist
-Pharmacological therapy to strengthen his muscles
-Orthopedic shoes

In order to achieve this, we have to raise a considerable sum of money from willing donors worldwide. Just the two days in Hospital cost 26,000 THB (520 Euro) after receiving a 50% discount. A great deal more will be needed to put “Nong Mee” on the road to some normality. The Physicians believe that it will also take some time and a great effort on his part to achieve this.  We sincerely feel that this young boy is well worth the effort. 

Latest Update March 2009:

Minewhile, after 4 years of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Nong Mee is able to walk upright and even drive a bicycle. We have decided to continue this program for at least this year, maybe if necessary even longer. 

Lions Club of Phuket Andaman Sea
District: 310 B, Club Identity: 5315, Club Number: 051274
132 Thaweewong Road, Patong Beach, Kathu, Phuket, 83150 Thailand