Home>Service> Global Love of Lives Award> 7th Fervent Global Love of Lives Award> Fighting with muscular dystrophy courageously —Ma Wen-Chung
Meeting challenges to live a hopeful life
      Ma Wen-chung, born to a poor family in 1966 at Mayezhuang Village, Miaozhan Town, Changheng County, Henan Province. His family lived a very hard life since his father was confined to work in the production team due to political factors, and his mother was ill and unable to work. At that time with economic depression, they had to survive themselves by sweet potatoes and even wild vegetables, and all of them were in an unhealthy condition.
       At his childhood, Ma Wen-chung often quarreled or fought with his elder brother for food. Sometimes, his mother had to stop them and give them a lesson. Then, he suffered from hepatic disease because of malnutrition. In order to save his life, his father took him for begging several hundred miles away after obtaining the approval of the villagers committees. But finally, they were driven out from their temporary shelter in a snowy night, and then sent to a jail as fugitives, where they nearly starved.
       Because of malnutrition and his mother’s gene inheritance, the muscle atrophy occurred slowly when he was 10 years old. He gradually lost the capability of movement in everyday life. So, his teacher advised him several time to quit school, but he insisted on and then was admitted to a key high school of the county with excellent performance. He had to suspend his schooling after two months because his condition got worse and was unable to take care of himself.
      However, Ma Wen-Chung didn’t give up his dream of becoming a teacher. Having studied by himself for a period of time, he made application and then achieved good results in the examination for a teacher training school. But he was refused due to his physical condition.
       All these frustrations are attributable to his disease, so he asked for medical treatment. But, he was diagnosed of progressive muscular dystrophy in Zhengzhou Medical College. It was an incurable disease and many patients would die before 20 years old.
      Nothing was more miserable and despairing than being sentenced to death to a teenager. He was immersed into deep sorrow. But one day, he waked up and realized that he must face the reality and cherish his short life with fervent love. Then, he wrote two poems:
      My life (1): I want to become bright no matter my life is as short as a meteor; I want to be shining no matter I’m like a dewdrop; I hope I can leave my dimple in the river of the history; or leave footprints on the land. Then I pass away with smiles.
      My life (2): a life is born while a life is gone. Please don’t fear and feel sad, since the spirit can live forever.
      With the encouragement of these two poems, he determined to race with the disease and made some contributions to the society.
      As he knew there was no much time left, he was eager to realize his dream of being a teacher. But, when he made request to the village leader and education office, he was disappointed with the fact that there was no vacancy of teachers in the elementary schools. So, he asked to serve only as a volunteer in the school.
      At last, they were moved by his sincerity, and agreed his request. At that time, the muscle dystrophy already became serious, so his thighs, buttocks and back had no strength to support him. In order to maintain a correct gesture, he tied his thighs with a string, and pulled it with his hands to prevent falling down. But, he had to stop and caught his breath after walking several steps, and often fell down and hurt himself.
      On a very cold and snowy day, he fell on the snow and his legs lost consciousness. One year later, he couldn’t stand anymore and had to leave the school.
      Despite of this, he was concerned about his students. He found many children quit school because of poverty, and the enrollment ratio of elementary school was only about 50%. Many children wandered in the street, leading to a social problem. Then it occurred to him that he might teach the students at his home.
      He told his ideas to his father and the director of the education office, and they agreed. “you may teach as you can,” said the director. After one-year’s preparation, his father built a classroom for him at spring of 1986.
      He wrote more than 30 ads overnight, but nobody signed up. Probably, the parents might think it terrible and unlucky to send their children to a physically disabled person. To show his desire and win the understanding of the students and their parents, he had to visit the children’s family from door to door.
      Two months later, one of his classmates in the high school sent her brother to his school. Then, 7 students came. At that time, his school was called a “trouble school”.
      It was really a miracle in Miaozhan Town that six out of the eight students were admitted to a higher school.
      In the second year, more than 40 students came to his school. He taught them from the morning to 9.30pm or 10pm, sitting on a high bench. The skin rotted and stuck with the trousers and bench, and he couldn’t go to the toilet or even drink water during 18 hours a day.
      Writing on blackboard was a big problem. He tried many ways to write, for example, with crabstick, but these methods failed. Then, he wrote the contents of teaching on four blackboards overnight, and used them one by one the next day. Later, he had to ask for the help of his students in writing.
      With the help of his father and wife in the past 17 years, this school developed into a real elementary school with more than 270 students. It trained more than 1500 graduates, and more than 200 poor students studied there free-of-charge.
      Now, his body has distorted seriously, and he felt very painful with the growing area of ulcerous buttocks. He just hoped that the grave comes to him slowly since he has too many things to do. When he wakened up every morning, he felt lucky that he could still teach his students. He will cherish every day!