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Happy Birthday Auntie Boon

On January 15th a birthday celebration was held in Chiangmai. This occasion marked the 6th cycle or milestone or 72nd birthday for Mrs. Somboon Suprasert. We, who know her, consider her our favorite Auntie and admire her for her qualities of energy and compassion. Chiangmai Governor Suwat Tantipat, Deputy Governor Parinya Pantong, Mrs. Ornadda Tantipat and Mrs. Narumon Pantong were in the crowd of well wishers. The 120 partygoers were from eleven agencies that Auntie Boon has either directed or worked with as well as her immediate family of son, daughter in law and grandchildren. After an evening where most of the guests sang and danced, the party came to a close at 11.30 p.m.

How much has she helped countless thousands of people in northern Thailand? I searched for her name on Yahoo.com, and found 58 sites that refer to her work as researcher in the field of HIV/Aids. This confirms her resolve to institute a holistic approach to the health problem in the early 1990's.

A video presented during the party was a living biography of her many accomplishments. When she graduated from high school she was accepted to study at the Red Cross Hospital at Chulalongkorn where she studied nursing for four years, completing her degree as a Registered Nurse (RN) and Midwife. Her natural talent motivated her through her career to the promotion of Head Nurse at the age of 25 years. From the Hua Hin hospital she was assigned to Chiangmai. Working as a midwife she delivered over 200 babies in Chiangmai. (I have met a few of them at various functions. Of course, now they are themselves parents with their own children.) For over 30 years she was the Nursing Director of the Red Cross in Chiangmai Province. She doesn't know the definition of retire.

For a number of years she has been advocating of 'wellness' and advancing the status of women. I came to know Auntie Boon as the Charter President of Zonta International Chiangmai in 1997. Inspiring the ZI club of 20 women who are academics and professional working women in Chiangmai, she has set up several charity projects to help those in need, including the Student Uniform Fund, the Thursday Club, and the Grandma Cares Project.

The Grandma Cares Project received an award from at the Zonta International District 17 Conference as the 4th most outstanding project out of more than 100 projects submitted by over 140 clubs in ZI District 17.

While Auntie Boon was President of Rotary Tin Thai Ngarm, a sister club was formed with the Rotary Club of Bukit Kiara Sunrise in Malaysia. Cooperation between the two Rotary Clubs continue just as strongly today with the establishment of a foundation to raise funds to help the local groups' projects provide needed support to the poor, underprivileged women and their families and children who are HIV positive through the Grandma Cares Project. The Rotary Club of Bukit Kiara Sunrise wants to take an active role to support the grandmothers and children. The foundation plans to do more than just donate funds with the objective to provide education to the disadvantaged group to develop their supplementary income by raising agriculture products.

Once again, on behalf of her dear friends and colleagues, Happy Birthday Auntie Boon.

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