Home>Service> Awardees of Fervent Global Love of Lives Award> 9th Fervent Global Love of Lives Award 2006> Breathing Warrior--Chang Heng-chun
Where there is breath, there is hope
      Chang Heng-chun, male, was born in Kaohsiung in 1987. At the age of four, the most serious type of muscular destrophy, “Duchenne Muscular Destrophy”, crawled upon him secretly. He often fell and hurt himself, then he had to put on helmet, knee pad, back and leg brace, and sat on a wheelchair. Facing such shock of not going to make it after twenty years of age, he was not defeated.

      His will to survive supported him to be graduated from Hsiaokang Elementary School, Hsiaokang Junior High School and The Affiliated Senior High School of National Kaohsiung Normal University (ASHS) with excellent grades, especially he has received meticulous care from his parents Chang Fu-tian and Chen Tai-hsiu couple and help from brother Chang Heng-Sheng, and warm-hearted encouragement from teachers and students alike in the ASHS. He worked hard each day and among those days, he won victories over the God of Death for seven times. In early July of this year, Heng-chun, bringing his respirator along, left the intensive care unit to challenge the university entrance examination. 

      Though he had to be sent back to the intensive care unit for urgent treatment after the examination, he passed the test and by his first choice was successfully admitted to the Department of Mathematics of the National Kaohsiung Normal University. What’s more impressive is that he knows how to give blessing in time and donated all his scholarship earned from school for years to Pingtung Home of Victory, Home for the Aged and Genesis Social Welfare Foundation to help more people in desperate need. In response to demands from all circles, the Chou Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation awarded the ninth Fervent Global Love of Lives Medal of 2006 beforehand on this very day (September 12) when university term starts to help him fight and encourage all those people fighting for survival and their families, also to awaken people to love lives fervently and care for others. 

        When Heng-chun attended elementary school at the age of six to seven, he was often bullied. He was almost arranged to study in special education class but then he ranked the top of the class in the IQ test. At this time, his spine started to curve forward. His movement became even slower and once he fell, he could not get up by himself. He could not stand still or sit straight. He had to lie prone on the floor to study that caused him seriously near-sighted. His parents spent a lot of time helping him with rehabilitation. He endured the pain during rehabilitation, but his health was getting worse year after year. The speed of his deterioration quietly accelerated that even his parents’ efforts to help him could not catch up. 

      From eight to ten years old, Heng-chun experienced two times of breathing difficulties when he caught a cold and almost got suffocated. At the age of ten, he lost the ability to walk and his head and neck became very weak. Before that, Heng-chun was always forced to walk slowly in order to keep his walking function, but someone had to stay beside him. At eleven, he started to wear Boston brace, leg brace and used electronic wheelchair. Later because of pathological changes of muscle and bone that created many difficulties for him, he could not operate the electronic wheelchair by himself. At twelve, Heng-chun became unable to sit still and both his upper and lower body had to be strapped onto the wheelchair to prevent him from falling and getting hurt. He had to be carried on the back or held in the arms to go in and out of classrooms or up and down the stairs. Both of his shoulders started to deform and fall downward as he graduated from elementary school. When he slept, he could not turn his body over by himself and he often woke up as pain hit. On average every night he needed to be turned over more than ten times. 

      As Heng-chun studied in junior high school, his complications became more obvious and his energy level was getting worse, but his interest in study was even stronger. On average he was ranked the top five for each sectional exam. At his third year in junior high, even though his feeble and deformed body and organs were already overloaded and he often had to take sick leaves, for the sake of taking the Basic Competence Test, he persisted in putting his utmost efforts to prepare but he needed someone to turn pages, take notes and change textbooks for him. His grades were maintained at the second place in the class for sectional exams as well as simulated tests. Besides, Heng-chun loves camera very much. He likes all kinds of flowers and plants and often took photos of them. He won the first prize in the Love My Hometown Photo Contest. 

      After graduated from junior high, he was hit again by a fatal illness. Being bed-ridden for a long time, he lost many of his functions. His head and neck was seriously stiff and weak. His deformed palm turned outwardly, so he had difficulties holding pens or using computer. He could not move his head and neck to see what was going on beside him, nor could he tell what clothes he was wearing. Since his breathing was not smooth, he used a respirator for some time, but then he had to take the risk and gave up using it because the rent was too high (monthly rent for a respirator is NTD 9000). 

      Since Kaohsiung Senior High School does not enroll female students, in order to learn equal right between the two sexes, he ever expressed his wish to study in ASHS when he was in his second year in junior high and he was eventually admitted to ASHS as his wish. But his weak body kept deteriorating and he still had to take sick leaves frequently. However, he studied by himself to make up the lessons he could not attend. By this time, his head and neck was entirely stiff. He could hardly move. He had to endure uneven breathing, excessive sleeping, headache, and accelerated deterioration of heart, liver and lung functions. His level of disability progressed from slight, moderate, severe to very severe and beyond. Even so frustrated, he still insisted in studying and keeping good grades. He considers that without excellent grades his life will become colorless, with no challenge, no goal, and above all no dignity. He thinks people with disabilities will be disregarded unless they have wisdom that brings them hope for a promising tomorrow. He has been working so hard. Even dragged by a paralyzed body, he still wants to study hard and go to university. 

      Last year as he studied in his third year of senior high, originally he had the confidence of receiving admission to university by his entrance exam grades, but he had a complication of respiratory failure and was transferred to the intensive care unit where he was in a coma for seven times but he still constantly thought of the exam. Since he could not be separated from the respirator, an urgent tracheotomy was conducted. He was hospitalized for three months. Though he came back to life, he could no longer speak and could only move his fingers, eyes and mouth. Still, he insisted in returning to school to do the exam once again. He took the great risk of infection and a life unclear how long it would last to see this beautiful world again. 

      In early July of this year, Heng-chun, bringing his respirator along, left the intensive care unit to challenge the university entrance examination. Though he had to be sent back to the intensive care unit for urgent treatment after the examination, he passed the test and by his first choice was successfully admitted to the Department of Mathematics of the National Kaohsiung Normal University. His story was published on the Apple Daily Newspaper’s front page on August 18 and caused a great sensation around the world. 
      As described above, student Chang Heng-chun grasps each day of his life, challenges life limit, safeguards life dignity and witnesses the fact of “where there is breath, there is hope”. He deserves the name of being a “Breathing Warrior”.