A mom who chose to raise a son with cerebral palsy; son now in the world’s top university

Probably, you have already read about this story. The first time I read this story was last Tuesday, 15 May from the South China Morning Post. Then, I encountered the same story last Friday, 18 May from the SgAsianParent website.

This story brought me back some memories. We had a family friend who had a daughter with cerebral palsy. She could not walk and talk just like how a normal person walks and talks. It’s because people with cerebral palsy have a problem with body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. Also, cerebral palsy affects their fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor functioning. She would sit on a wheelchair and she needed assistance doing day to day activities. Because of her condition, she was not able to go to school.


A Chinese boy (or now a man) named Ding had a different story. He had cerebral palsy. Her mother, Zou, was advised by the doctor to give him up because he would be mentally retarded. The father agreed with the doctor and told Zou that their son would be a burden to their family. Amidst the father’s decision, Zou was still persistent to save Ding even if it cost her marriage. Soon, they were divorced. To survive, she took up several jobs – a full-time position at a college in Wuhan, China and part time jobs as a protocol trainer and insurance seller. Though she was busy with her job, she did not forget her responsibility as a mother. In her free time, she regularly took Ding to rehabilitation sessions. She would massage his stiff muscles. Also, she would play games and puzzles with him to improve his intelligence. From the very start, Zou was very strict with his son and insisted on him to overcome his disabilities.

ding 1

Zou’s sacrifices had paid off! Ding graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Peking University’s Environmental Science and Engineering School in 2011 and enrolled for a master’s degree at the university’s International Law School. He worked for two years before furthering his studies at the US Ivy League Harvard University last year. You are awesome, Ding! Good job! And most of all, excellent job to your mother Zou!

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