29-year-old Ding Ding was recently accepted to study at Harvard University and he credits his mother for being where he is today.
Ding Ding was born disabled. In fact, his condition was so bad that doctors told his parents that he was “not worth saving.” But his mother ignored all the advice and devoted her life to helping her son.
Ding Ding nearly suffocated during a birth complication and this left him with cerebral palsy.
Doctors suggested that his mother, Zou Hongyan should give up the baby as he would end up either disabled or retarded. Her husband even agreed and said the boy would be a burden to the family but Zou insisted she was keeping her baby. She divorced her husband soon after.
The determined mum took several jobs to support the family and provide treatment for her son. She took Ding to rehabilitation sessions and even trained herself on how to massage his stiff muscles.
She was steady in her belief that her son would learn how to overcome his disabilities. She played educational games with him, thought him how to use chopsticks and tried to help him lead as normal a life as possible.
“I didn’t want him to feel ashamed about this physical problems,” she said. “Because he had inferior abilities in many areas, I was quite strict on him to work hard to catch up where he had difficulties.”
The woman’s efforts paid off as Ding graduated with a degree in environmental science from Peking University’s school of engineering in 2011. He later enrolled in a second-degree programme at the university’s international law school.
In 2016, Ding was accepted into Harvard Law School
“I never dared to dream of applying to Harvard,” Ding said. “It was my mother who never stopped encouraging me to give it a try. Whenever I had any doubts, she would guide me forward.”
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