When Zou Hongyan welcomed her only son to the world in 1988, terrible birth complications left him disabled for life with cerebral palsy. Doctors in her native Hubei province encouraged her to give him up, a view that even her own husband shared, as they believed the boy would lead a miserable, worthless life. Zou, however, rejected their claims, divorced her child’s father, and made it her life mission to treat and support her baby boy when no one else would.
Zou worked at least 3 jobs simultaneously to support her small family, including protocol training and insurance sales, and played brain-boosting games with her son to stimulate his senses and build the foundations of his intelligence. She even taught him how to use chopsticks when his stiff hands could barely grip them. “I didn’t want him to feel ashamed about these physical problems,” she told the South China Morning Post. “Because he had inferior abilities in many areas, I was quite strict on him to work hard to catch up where he had difficulties.”
29 years later, that same boy – Ding Ding – is a Peking University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences and engineering. As of recently, he’s also a Harvard Law student. We can only imagine how proud this hard-working mom is of her son’s incredible progress, and how grateful Ding Ding must be to his greatest supporter. (h/t)