A recent entrant to the elite Harvard University is 29 year old Ding Ding. He is from Central China. You might wonder what is so special about this young man. The reason he is going to Harvard is entirely due to his mother!
After almost suffocating at birth, Ding Ding was left with Cerebral Palsy. Doctors suggested that his mother Zou Hongyan give the baby up as they assured her that he would grow up either disabled or with very low intelligence. Mother Zou decided not to take this advice and kept her baby.
Zou even went against the advice of her husband, and they divorced soon afterwards. He had told her that the child would grow up to be a burden on them, but Zou would never give up the baby. She believed she could help Ding to lead a good life. Her long struggle started at the very moment Zou decided to keep her son.
Zou was forced to take several jobs in order to keep money coming in. Somehow in between jobs she took Ding to rehabilitation sessions. She learned how to massage his muscles, and spent time playing puzzle games with him. Stiff and tight muscles are symptoms of this disease, and Zou learned the best way to release them so that Ding could move his body properly. Zou taught Ding how to move his hands in a coordinated way so that he could do thing that other people did.
Despite all odds, Zou was adamant that Ding would overcome his disability as far as possible, right down to being able to eat with chopsticks! Family members agreed that it would be understandable for Ding to not be able to do some things, but Zou was determined that he should be able to as many things as possible. Zou is the first to admit that she was very strict on him because she did not want him to feel inferior about himself.
“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.”
Painstakingly, Zou helped Ding to overcome his problems and lead a normal life. Inch by inch, she watched the youngster improve, despite everyone who had given her advice to give her baby away.
In 2011 Ding graduated from Peking University Science and Engineering School. He then went on to enrol at the University’s International Law School and obtained a masters degree.
Ding took two years off his studies to work, and then began to study at the US Ivy League Harvard University. While he is happy to be at the university, Ding says that he misses his mother very much. He considers her to be his spiritual mentor.
Zou, who now lives in Zingzhou, Hubai Province admits that she relished their close friendship. This is truly a story of how a very determined mother made the world of difference in her son’s life, even though all the odds were stacked against her. Zou has every right to be proud of her son, and also proud of herself for achieving what she did.
Source: South China Morning Post