HOF089: Lou Xiong
Lou Xiong is a Hmong born is Houaphanh province in Laos. At the young age of four , he contracted polio that caused muscle weakness in his right leg. He eventually recovered from the disease but walks with a slight limp. When he was a teenager, his family experienced the brutality of the Communist regime. As a result, the family fled Laos with a group of their countrymen. They trekked through the jungle for 20 days with just the clothes on their backs. They ate whatever they could find in the jungle to relieve their hunger.
They reached the Mekong River near the Thai border. Unfortunately, Thai soldiers captured his parents and others. Lou and four of his friends managed to escape by swimming across the Mekong River. Once in Thailand, he remained in the Ban Vinai refugee camp for approximately one year. On July 14, 1979, Immigration Canada officials approved his request for asylum to Canada. He arrived in Canada not knowing how to speak English or French, and that means that between the ages of 15 to 24 years, he had to learn how to fend for himself.
He married in his late 20s, and they managed to make a life for themselves and had five children. In his late 30s, Lou Xiong experienced serious health issues and required a liver transplant. The operation was successful and he went on to care for his family. He and his spouse watched their children grow and complete their education at college and university. Lou Xiong and his spouse have been residents of Canada for 40 years. He often reminds himself that no matter the difficulties he endured during his life, he chose to never give up.