For his love of running and helping others, a 28-year-old man suffering from polio has been dubbed “Chongqing Forrest Gump” on Chinese social media after managing to run in more than 20 marathons across China in the last year using only his left leg.
Xiong Jun has suffered from polio since childhood. Despite his serious illness, he has become a marathon enthusiast and has also devoted himself to finding ways to help others in need.
According to Chongqing Evening News, Xiong participated in five marathons last year and another 20 races since then.
“I give lectures at schools and share my running experiences,” Xiong told reporters. “Meanwhile, I also give psychological counseling and career advice to people with disabilities.”
Like Forrest Gump, Xiong manages to run into celebrities from time to time. He and female badminton star Zhang Yawen, took part in a charity running event together held on June 27th in a bid to raise funds for female students in need of assistance.
In addition, Xiong attended the 2015 Chongqing International Marathon to help encourage a 7-year-old boy suffering from a rare blood disorder called Thalassemia.
Inspired by Xiong’s incredible perseverance, more and more people have begun following his example and joining him in fitness exercises.
Xiong told reporters that he will organize a hiking tour in Tibet next year for 30 disabled people who want to experience trekking in nature. “I will keep running and try to influence more people to help themselves, as well as others in need,” he told reporters.
He met a young woman following a speech he made at a school. “She asked for my number after the speech was over,” he smiles. “After her graduation, she became my girlfriend. She says she admires my strong will and spirit of optimism.”
They goes together like peas and carrots.
Earlier this year, the story of a 49-year-old disabled woman in Keyuan town, Ningxia Hui Autonomous region, who uses her feet to do all kinds of family chores, including giving hair cuts to her husband, went viral online.
“Some people don’t think miracles happen, well, they do.”
By Lucy Liu
[Image via Chongqing Evening]