A single Shenyang mother who has spent the past 20 years taking care of her two twin sons, both of whom are living with cerebral palsy, autism and obesity, has inspired online after her story was published ahead of Mother’s Day.
Ma Zhiqiu gave birth to the twins on February 23, 1994, when she was 26 years old. Not long after that, the two boys were diagnosed with cerebral palsy and autism due in part to complications caused by dystocia and premature delivery, according to Tencent News. Ma and her husband were overwhelmed upon learning the diagnosis.
Ma needs ten minutes to help her son get up to use the toilet.
In order to care for her newborn sons, Ma Zhiqiu quit her job at a state-owned enterprise and became a full-time housewife. She shouldered the heavy burden of caring for the two children on her own, after divorcing her husband who was experiencing depression.
Ma’s older son Zhang Hangjun, weighing 250 kilos, can’t make it off the bed or communicate with other people, and he requires around-the-clock assistance. His brother Zhang Yuanjun is able to care for himself, and occasionally helps his mother with family chores.
Zhang Yuanjun has shown interest in music since he was little.
Ma and her younger son on the bus to the local children’s center.
Since 2012, Ma has been accompanying Zhang Yunjun to free piano and singing lessons at a children’s center, despite the lengthy three-hour round-trip.
Zhang Yuanjun’s teacher asks him to demonstrate what he has learned in the front of the class.
The family couldn’t afford a piano, so one of Zhang Yuanjun’s teachers, Luo Yang, donated her piano to the family. When he’s not helping his mother look after his brother, Zhang Yuanjun spends most of his time practicing.
Zhang Yunjun has not only mastered several songs on the instrument, but can also sing in various foreign languages, including Italian and Russian.
Zhang Yuanjun has received numerous awards in competitions.
“Ma is a strong and great mother. She has spent the past 20 years turning a broken family into a loving family, ” said a community worker who visits Ma regularly. The worker said that local organizations have helped Ma apply for a monthly government subsidy and often come to her home to help her.
Ma said that she’s been teaching Zhang Yunjun how to care for his elder brother. “I can’t live with them forever. I hope he can learn more skills so that he can feed himself and take care of his elder brother in the future,” Ma told reporters.
Ma is photographed looking through old photos as she takes a break.
Zhang Yuanjun presents his mother with a bouquet of flowers after singing at a charity event.
By Lucy Liu
[Images via Tencent News]