Chinese Mom Refuses To Give Up Disabled Son, Nurtures Him All The Way To Harvard

May 17, 2017

Ding Ding was born disabled, and doctors told his parents he was "not worth saving". But his mother ignored doctors and even her husband to devote her life to helping her son overcome adversity and make the most of his abilities.

At 29 years old, Ding Ding, who has cerebral palsy, has been accepted to Harvard University.

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Photo credit: South China Morning Post

Ding Ding attributes his success in his academic studies as well as overcoming many of his physical handicaps to his mother's persistence and endless devotion.

In 1988, he nearly suffocated during a birth complication, which left him with cerebral palsy.

Doctors suggested to his mother Zou Hongyan that she give up the baby, saying it was worthless trying to rescue him as he would grow up either disabled or with low intelligence. Even the boy's father agreed with the doctors and told Zou that the boy would be a burden for the family for his entire life. But Zou insisted on saving the boy and soon divorced.

good news happy news mother son 2017
Photo credit: South China Morning Post

To support the family and provide treatment for her son, Zou took up several jobs. In her spare time, she regularly took Ding to rehabilitation sessions. She taught herself how to massage his stiff muscles, and would also play educational games with him.

Zou also insisted from the start that her son would learn to overcome his disabilities as far as possible. She insisted on teaching him how to use chopsticks during mealtimes, even though he found this extremely difficult at first, so he would not have to always explain his disability to others when he had meals with them.

"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."

good news happy news mother son 2017
Photo credit: South China Morning Post

Ding graduated with a degree in environmental science from Peking University's school of engineering in 2011.

That same year, he enrolled in a second degree program at the university's international law school.

In 2016, after working for two years, 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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