Minh Anh is a Vietnamese orphan who lives in a special hospital in Vietnam. His rare skin disease causes horribly uncomfortable scaling all over his body, which is why he is referred to by most people he knows as "Fish." Sadly, Minh Anh isn't alone. He is surrounded by other children just like him, who have been born with severe disabilities and thus left behind by their families.

Advertisement
Doctors aren't entirely sure of the root cause of the condition of these children, but a majority of them were born to parents who were exposed to dioxin, a dangerous contaminant found in Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Agent Orange was used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War as an herbicide and defoliant on the dense jungle landscape. Spina bifida is one of the more commonly known birth defects that stems from Agent Orange exposure. In Ming Anh's case, he has a rare skin disorder called Ichthyosis, in which the body accumulates dead skin cells on its surface. According to the Mayo Clinic,  Ichthyosis has no cure.

Minh Nah's story doesn't end with his abandonment and affliction. 8,000 miles away there lives a woman from Essex who has bonded with Minh Anh in a remarkably special way. Brenda Smith, who is now 80-years-old, has been visiting orphaned and disabled Vietnamese children for the past 20 years, sometimes spending up to 3 months per visit. When she met Minh Nah they sparked a relationship that has lasted over 15 years. This video shows Brenda's experience with Minh Nah as she tries to bring joy into his life, and find someone to pass the torch to who will care for her most important person. A grandmother herself, Brenda truly views Minh Nah as one of her own. While it hurts my heart to learn that his parents gave up on him for something he had no control over, it's inspirational to know there is someone like Brenda who shows him this much unwavering love and support.