Thursday, September 10, 2009

Farewell to a hero

Tonight I am writing from Ho Chi Minh City with the terrible news that Susan Adams, a long time friend of Blue Dragon, has passed away.

Susan was a hero to me: she and her husband Hugh were the very first supporters that I had back in 2002 when Blue Dragon Children's Foundation was no more than a vague idea.

In December 2002, one of my students at the University of Economics - Pham Sy Chung, who was working with me on the idea of establishing a charity - excitedly told me about Hugh and Susan. Hugh was also teaching at the uni, and Susan was the IMF Country Representative in Vietnam. "They'll help us, for sure," Chung told me.

I rolled my eyes. Although I'd been thinking about setting up some kind of organisation for only a short time, I was already tired of people promising help but coming up with absolutely nothing. For a moment I wanted to tell Chung "Forget about it - they won't help," but I figured I had nothing much to lose so I agreed to meet them.

We first met at the Hanoi Opera House, where Susan and Hugh had organised a concert to raise funds for a school for blind children. From the very start, they were committed. I remember Susan saying to me: "Tell me how we can help. We love what you're doing, so just tell us what you need."

And that was that. From that day on, both Susan and Hugh have always been available, always ready to get involved, and always there with a shoulder to lean on, or cry on, as required. In 2003, when it looked like I was going to be deported (that's a story for another time) it was Susan who came to my rescue. Without her involvement, Blue Dragon probably would not exist now.

And over the years, she has been an ongoing source of inspiration. Knowing that I am far from my own family and loved ones, she signs off every email with "Love, Mommy."

Susan, the world is in shock tonight. It seems much too soon for you to have left us. Thank you for all you gave. You will not be forgotten.



Terynn said...


Please accept my heartfelt condolences at the passing of your beloved benefactor and Mom figure, Susan. Sudden and sad and I am sorry for your loss.

She sounds like a lovely, lovely person, who will be missed by many.

Anonymous said...

Susan was among the kindness friends I have. Her works had helped young people in their careers all over the world.

I am one of them.

Her friendship, what she had done for me and for Blue Dragon shall never be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

I am vey sad to hear the news. Susan is a kind teacher we've met. She shall not be forgotten. I would like to present my heartfelt condolence to you and family.

A student of E-MBA3A (BSNEU Hanoi)

tazzmeyer said...


This news saddens my heart for you.
Her spirit lives on through you and through Blue Dragon... She was your earth angel before...she is your angel now.... always with you and forever a part of the work you are doing.

My deepest sympathies to you and Susan's family.

Christine Becksted

Anonymous said...

oh Mike, i don't know what to say. that is simply devastating! :( I've never known of Susan but from your story, she truly was a wonderful lady. She will never be forgotten. Especially by the lives she had touched, and made better. My heart goes out to you & her family...

Haraka said...


A tough week for you and certainly no shortage of challenges. I am sure your work will continue to attact the strong and positive people you have in your team of supporters.

Keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. To say she was one in a million is an understatement. This beautiful human being – so kind, giving, talented, thoughtful. So gentle, so sensitive. She was inspirational and inspired me. She was beautiful in all respects. It is such a profound, deep, sad aching loss. I feel for everyone that knew her.

In the words of JJ she has passed boldly into that other world in the full glory of some passion.

Susan I miss you.

Anonymous said...

Susan, in ny thoughts all the time. Greatly missed. AM