A 29-year-old man from Hubei province who was born with cerebral palsy is now studying at Harvard Law School thanks to his own hard work and determination, as well as the unwavering support and devotion of his incredible mom.
In 2011, Ding Zheng graduated from Peking University before being admitted last year into the Ivy League, something that would have seemed impossible decades ago, to all that is except for his mother. Xinhua reports that in 1988, doctors had suggested to Zou Hongyan that she should terminate her pregnancy, explaining that because of a birth complication that had nearly caused the fetus inside her to suffocate to death, her child would likely never live a normal life.
Zou’s husband agreed with the doctors’ suggestion, saying that he would not raise the child. But Zou refused to give up on her son, deciding instead that she would dedicate her life to nurturing her child, helping him overcome his condition. Soon after Ding was born, Zou divorced her husband and began to bring up her son on her own.
In order to support her son, who she calls “Ding Ding,” as a single parent, Zou took up several different jobs. But in her spare time she devoted herself to her son’s development. While cerebral palsy has no affect on a person’s mental capacity, it does create serious problems with coordination and movement.
Because of that Ding’s pace of development was much slower than that of his peers. He didn’t learn to stand up until he was 2 years old. At three, he first learned to walk and at six he learned to jump. But at every step of the way, Zou was there, helping and encouraging him.
Each day, after returning home from work, Zou would take her son to the hospital for therapy sessions. She also learned some massage techniques to help loosen up his tense muscles. During her lunch breaks, she spent her time playing games with Ding to help build up his brain power.
Whenever Ding faced challenges, she insisted that he learn how to overcome them, forcing him to learn to eat with chopsticks so that he would feel no different from the rest of the kids. Now enrolled in Harvard, Ding credits his mom’s spirit and willpower for getting him to where he is today.
“I would have never dared to apply to Harvard, but my mom encouraged me to give it a shot. Whenever I’m hesitant, she is always there guiding me,” he said.
[Images via Xinhua]
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