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Chinese Writer with Muscular Dystrophy - Diao Yan-Hua
[Writes words with tears to thank her father’s pride]
 
Perhaps there’s nobody to rely on and nobody will pity me. So it’s no use for me to feel depressed and hide my sadness. I can’t even afford to feel desperate as I want to survive on my own.

Life shall move on, the only difference is that I’m alone.

Although alone, I didn’t quit learning and writing halfway. If I’d chosen to learn and write in the first place and that learning and writing have saved me, so learning and writing have become the main contents of my life.
 
                                                               —Diao Yan-Hua

Now serving in Online Chinese Poetry School, the Internet celebrity teacher Diao Yan-Hua is unable to walk as she suffers from myasthenia gravis and the symptom is getting worse with age.

Now she stays in bed all year round, and her arms are gradually unable to lift. She can only see and experience the courageous Yalu River through the window. At the same time, she writes a few thunderstruck and world-awakening songs through the computer.

Although she could not walk normally since childhood, but the pursuit of knowledge did not stop her. Under her strong demand, she managed to go to school and graduated from junior high school with help from her classmates.
 
In the spring of 2006, with the help of a local network company, she finally had the longest-awaited first computer. On the day she got the computer, she wrote her first prose and published it in the supplement of “Dandong Daily.” The article aroused great repercussions from all walks of life and has since begun her literary creation.

Three years later, with the help of the media, Diao Yan-Hua published a collection of proses entitled as “Father’s Pride,” dedicating to her father who wholeheartedly encouraged her to write. It caused a sensation in the northeastern part of the world and the entire China.

In August 2011, Diao Yan-Hua has become the most popular teacher in the Online Chinese Poetry School. At the end of 2016, she was employed by Clone Group to edit the provincial internal publication “Literary Retrospective” to become self-reliant.

As the Chinese Diao Yan-Hua is not fear the limits of congenital diseases and has studied hard to display her talents and simultaneously written grateful words and sentences meticulously, she has lived in great hopes. The editorial collection “Father’s Pride” has caused a sensation in the northeastern part of the world and the entire China, and has even driven more people with disabilities to write gratitude, strength and hopes on the Internet. She deserves to be praised as a “Writer with Muscular Dystrophy” and stood out among 2616 candidates of Loved Life Medal from all walks of life in the world and won the “21st Fervent Global Love of Lives Award” in 2018 from Chou, Ta-Kuan Foundation in Taiwan. The Foundation always welcomes recommendations for life warriors from all walks of life in the world who are hardworking, benevolent, courageous, and have made great accomplishments, etc. (Fervent Global Love of Lives Award recommendation hotline of Chou, Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation of Taiwan: 02-29178770, Fax: 02-29178768, Address: 3F, No. 52, Mingde Road, Xindian District, New Taipei City, Website: http://www.ta.org.tw, e-mail: ta88ms17@gmail.com).

Parents’ love
On September 4, 1963, on the evening of an early fall, Diao Yan-Hua was born in Dandong near Yalu River in a border city of China. Facing North Korea which was secretly developing nuclear weapons, the city was very quiet at that time because there were few vehicles, but the square was noisy and lively as it was occupied by more than 30 households then.

It was presumed that her arrival to the world will not receive special expectation as Mom already has an elder sister and brother.

Although her parents did not care whether she was a boy or a girl, but they were full of joy when seeing her. Her parents said that even if she looked small, her legs were very long and she had a good figure. Her eyes were particular big and bright that her father concluded that she would be a smart child.

Unlike her mother who had a slight preference for her brother in her heart, her father, however, was totally affectionate to her unabashedly as he would personally dress her up, wash her face, comb her hair, and even take her out.
 
When she was slightly older, her father even took her along to work. Despite the arrival of a younger sister, her parents’ focus was still in her favor.
 
Desperate diagnosis and painful therapy
Although her parents love Diao Yan-Hua very much, but God seems to purposely arrange to temper her in this world. When she was a year old, her parents finally found the sad news that she was unable to walk like a normal child. Even if she does not seem to have any abnormalities, but her body is not as strong as the normal children.

When she was young, she could still walk by holding on something. Once leaving any reliance, she could only manage to stand for a while, and would immediately fall after exhausting her energy.

To let her learn to walk, her parents often took her to the hospital for treatment. Due to the limited medical conditions at that time, even doctors did not give her a consistent diagnosis. Therefore, all treatments were limited to acupuncture, piercing, and a kind of needle embedding method.

One treatment that gave Diao Yan-Hua with a deepest impression was to pierce four identical toothpick alike needles, about two inches long each, under the skin on both sides of the spine at the back, and then fixed and wrapped them with gauze.

Each therapy is a cycle of three days, and the needles were removed until the fourth day. They were then pierced in the adjacent positions again after disinfection.

The doctor’s therapeutic theory was that they could stimulate the nerves. She did not know if the needles had stimulated her nerves or not. All she could tell in her memory is that she did not cry in any of the treatments.
 
She always believes that under the meticulous love of her parents, she would eventually have the opportunity to stand up.


Eager to study and grateful to her parents
After going through numerous treatments, Diao Yan-Hua is still the child who cannot walk independently.

At the age of schooling, children of the same age in the square all went to school, but she could only sit at home.
 
She was eager to go to school and hope that her parents could help her find ways to go to school.
 
However, the way her parents comforted her was to buy a piece of cloth and make new clothes for her. That year, she lost her chance of going to school under the temptation of good-looking clothes and comfort words from her parents.

In the second year, it was the season of recruiting new students. That time she suddenly awakened. She raised an unshakable belief in her mind that she must go to school!

She did not know how to go to school nor matter how much difficulties she would face in school. She considered they were her parents’ problems. One thing she would do was to show her firm position and then started to cry aloud.

She thought crying was the only way she could compromise with our parents to solve the schooling issue.
 
Although her parents were always fond of her but they determined not to let her go to school. First of all, they concerned that no teacher would willing to accept this special student.

Secondly, both her father’s legs were amputated after suffering from vasculitis at that time and could not send her to school at all. Meanwhile, her mother’s asthma was also getting more serious and hardly able to stand up, so sending and fetching her every day was an impossible task for her.

However, she did not think so much at that time. In her young heart, she thought that as long as her parents agreed her to go to school, there would be a solution.

Therefore, she cried as much as she could until her mouth and face had turned numb, and her eyes became astringently painful. No matter how much temptation and promises her parents gave her, she just refused to give up schooling.

So, she cried for three days in a row. Finally, her parents finally agreed and begged the teachers to let her go to school.

To date, she can still clearly remember that her mother nearly cried while sending her to school that day, and she could not understand her mother’s sorrow and grief. She simply thought that as long as her mother would let her go to school, her schooling problems would be solved.

She had nothing to worry at all after her mother took her to school. On that day, her mother left the house in the morning and returned near noon to fetch her.

She looked up at her mother and saw a sly smile on her face. Her mother’s smile had also made her father laughing too.
 
Experiencing the campus life
At the beginning of the school year, Diao Yan-Hua was first transported on a children’s cart with four wheels by her elder sister. However, her sister quickly became unhappy because she had to attend classes too. For the sake of sending and fetching her, she would always late at school and had to leave earlier.

After a while, her class teacher ordered her classmates to pick her up for school and send her back. In the third grade of elementary school, the education department launched an activity to allow the working class people to stand on the podium. Her class teacher was replaced by a master in a printing factory. Communication difficulties had caused the classmates who often helped her to skip school. So she was left at home again.

Her family’s financial situation has not always been very good. Her parents need to paste paper bags and boxes to subsidize the home expenses for a long time. In the past, she was only able to help out with the job after school, but after that incident, she became the main force on the job without having to go to school. Every day except eating and sleeping, she basically did the pasting work.


After finishing a batch of work, she would have some spare time on her own and immediately find a book to read. They were naturally extracurricular books.

From the second grade of elementary school, she began to like reading books. She would read whatever books she could lay her hand on as long as they have the story contents, regardless whether or not they were children’s books.

Even if she could not go to school, she would still stay at home to take the final exam of each semester under the supervision of several classmates.
 
She considered the elementary school textbooks at that period very simple and only needed to study them before the exams. So she would spare herself two days of self-study time, one day to study language textbooks, one day to study math textbooks, and the third day to take the exams.

But after graduated from junior high school, she was out of school again. At that time, she was not sad because she knew she would not have the opportunity to attend high school or university due to her disabilities.
 
 She even used her reading technique on her pre-junior high school exams, and magically, passed all subjects in perfect scores.

Dream to attend senior high school shattered
In junior high school, Diao Yan-Hua changed to attend a school nearer to her home and regained her schooling. On the first day in school, she was still being sent by her sister. Upon entering the classroom, she was surrounded by strange classmates. They were enthusiastic to meet her and said that they read about her articles in a magazine.

Before her sister left, several female students told her sister do not bother coming as they would take responsible to pick her up and send her home.

That was an unexpected consequence for Diao Yan-Hua and a pleasant surprise for her sister too.

In the three years of junior high school, she did not miss any class with the help of her classmates.
   
Long-term sitting has resulted in scoliosis
Before attending junior high school, Diao Yan-Hua had already unable to stand totally. In those years, although the neighboring sisters would help her to practice walking, and her cousin had also made her a walking stick, but she did not insist walking.

Some people said she was spoiled by her father for not willing to beat her, letting her to be lazy, refused to exercise and so could not walk. Every time her father heard this, he smiled helplessly.

At the beginning, she was afraid of being asked about scoliosis, and would cry whenever the issue was brought up. When she was particularly agitated, she would also accuse her parents of using her as a child laborer, causing her spine to bend. Facing with her unreasonable accusations, her parents just kept silent.

In her youth, her greatest desire was to go for spine surgery once she have the money, but she knew that was an unreachable desire as she would not raise this request to her parents.

Father found her writing talent
Graduated from home, Diao Yan-Hua was not regarded as unemployed because she has no qualifications for being employed. She is only someone who cannot live on her own.
 
Her father hoped that she would write at home later and said that she has a gift in writing. So he collected a lot of literary magazines and even bought back half ream of blank paper.

She could not lift up a pen due to muscular dystrophy. She rarely wrote homework during the school period as it was a very difficult task for her to grab the pen for a period of time.

Due to hand weakness, the words she wrote became more and more ugly. For her in pursuit of perfection, she did not want to write with a pen.

Her father firmly believed that if she had a computer in the future, she would certainly be able to write.

In comparison, she preferred to solve math problems that would bring her joy, and physical experimentation. However, the accomplishment of making first place in junior high school language subject has buried her with a seed in literature.

Decorating her life with her love for art
When she was young, Diao Yan-Hua had once crazy on painting and art related to painting. Whenever she saw something about painting on television, even if it was a short program that lasted for several minutes, she would blush and tremble, and even generate a slight headache.
 
But in reality, all those things she loved were too far away from her. She did not have a chance to learn them.


Although she could not access to the real works of art, she could do some exquisite ornaments by herself, and her parents was glad upon seeing them.

Although she could not get the good things she yearned for, but she wanted to decorate her life with good things in her heart.

Not only did she occasionally do what she liked, she also needed to do a lot of Dragon Boat Festival’s hanging ornaments every year. She would sell them on the farmer market in a wheelchair on the eve of Dragon Boat Festival with the help of her family and classmates. They would always sell out in a short while.

Blaming herself to cause her mother’s death due to overwork
While her mother was helping her to sell the hanging ornaments in the market on the eve of the Dragon Boat Festival in 1990, her mother fell to the ground suddenly due to brain hemorrhage. From then on, she was bed-ridden. Then, her father who had amputated both his legs, her disabled elder brother and her, took up the responsibility to look after her mother. Two years later, her sick mother had a relapse of cerebral hemorrhage and died reluctantly at the age of 53.

The period of time after her mother left was the darkest part of her life. She blamed that her mother’s outbreak of cerebral hemorrhage was related with her illness, and she even suspected that she had killed her poor mother.

After her mother left, not only her heart was empty, she also felt the house empty.
 
The empty house was very quiet. Amid the tranquility, she would always hear the siren of an ambulance, and would then think of her mother and the scene where her mother was driven off by the ambulance. This would suddenly turn her heart sour.
 
One day, her younger sister came home and she heard the siren of the ambulance again. She said casually: “So bad our house is so near to the hospital as you can always hear the ambulance siren noise every day, even at midnight!

Her younger sister looked at her strangely and said: “Where on earth is the ambulance siren noise!” At that instant, she discovered that she had ear problem.

The sound of the ambulance siren that carried her mother away has still remained in her mind. When it is quiet, it would ring in her ears.
 
Such symptom has continued to trouble her for 13 years.

Owning the first computer and accomplishing her father’s hope
In the spring of 2006, Diao Yan-Hua finally had the first computer she dreamed of with the help of local media. On her first day online, she struck the first prose on the keyboard and published it in a supplement of “Dandong Daily.”

When her father saw the article being published, he was even happier than her: “Dad has always believed you can write, but I didn’t expect you to start writing until now.”
 
When her second prose was published, her father said with excitement: “Dad has always believed that you can write, but I didn’t expect you can write them so well.”

His father loved literature. His greatest wish in his youth was to write a novel, but with all the burdens of the family falling on his shoulders, he therefore entrusted his hope on Diao Yan-Hua.

Finally, with the help of the TV station, she published a prose collection that entitled “Father’s Pride.”

With a computer, it means opening a window to her. Not only can she express the feelings in her heart, but also experience the outside world.

On the Internet, she participated in a group of volunteers and became a manager in the group. Every volunteer activity was organized by her. Even if she could not attend the event personally, she was trusted by the volunteers.

Although her life has become richer and richer, the scociosis condition has gone worse. After one reporter learned about her situation, he kept looking and finally contacted a Beijing doctor for her.

After inquiring her condition in detail, the doctor did not advocate her to undergo a corrective surgery as the post-operation would be too painful. After the diagnosis, the doctor said that her symptom is a kind of myasthenia gravis that would eventually cause her to loss the strength to breathe.

However, the doctor is still optimistic about her illness because the development of her illness is slow. She accepted the doctor’s diagnosis because she knew the symptoms are indeed developing.
 
Enthusiastic to demonstrate her talent
Quickly, the summer of 2011 had arrived. Diao Yan-Hua entered into a poetry school on the Internet by chance. At the time, she did not care much about what she was going to learn as long as there was a place to learn.

She had already wasted too much time. With an opportunity to learn, it was indeed a luxury and a happy thing for her. She knew she wanted it in her heart for too long, and she also knew that she is a person who craves for learning.

Fortunately, she met a Dean teacher on Internet with real standard. After a few years of study, her work was recognized with a sense of ancient rhyme. Based on the Dean’s teacher perspective, it means: “Your work can be blended in Tang poetry.”

In Network Poetry School, she was selected as a substitute teacher by the Dean’s teacher. While learning, she also needed to teach lessons for junior students.

 Because it was online learning, no one in the online poetry school knew that she is a person who cannot live on her own.

Two years ago in one summer, she fell off her bed lightly but did not have the strength to get up, and nearly suffocated and die.
    
  
After being saved, she decided to tell her condition to several close classmates: Once she fails to contact them for several days, she might have already gone and requested them to bid farewell to everybody on her behalf.

In a subsequent interview with Diao Yan-Hua, one of her classmates privately explained her situation to the Director of the online poetry school. Only then did the Dean of the online poetry school know that the student who has been studying for nearly four years is actually a person who cannot walk. He voluntarily exempted all her tuition fees and made her become an online teacher.


Father died after being seriously ill
When Diao Yan-Hua’s life was full of sunshine, his father was found to have lung cancer. Hearing the news, it was like a thunder in clear sky for her.

At that moment, her tears bursted like dam break floods. She was not reconciled that this kind of bad news would come to her home. She was also sad to see her father leaving step by step reluctantly.

She searched the Internet for various therapies and also asked people to help her buy medicines that could cure the illness. It was obviously that the attempts were futile, but she did not want to put herself at the mercy of fate.

Despite her efforts and help, her father finally left her following her mother.

The departure of her father has made her a helpless person.

At first, her elder sister came back to take care of her for half a year. Six months later, her elder sister began to use a modest retirement pension to hire a housemate to look after her.
 

Never give up learning and writing despite nobody to rely on
Since living alone, the greatest change on Diao Yan-Hua is her body. Her spine has become more and more severely bent. She seems impossible to sit and her legs have become stiff.

Formally able to work skillfully with her hands, now they are no more flexible and get tired easily upon hitting more words.
 
The shrinking symptoms developed so rapidly that she did not expect it. She knew that this is due to the lack of careful care by her family members. However, she has to accept this consequence.

Perhaps there is nobody to rely on and nobody will pity me. So it is no use for me to feel depressed and hide my sadness. I can’t afford even to feel desperate as I want to survive on my own. I must fight for life perpetually despite I’m alone.
 
Although alone, she did not quit learning and writing halfway.
 
If I’d chosen to learn and write in the first place and that learning and writing have saved me, so learning and writing have become the main contents of my life.


Moving on persistently with help from benefactor
In the Spring Gala held by Dandong TV in 2016, Diao Yan-Hua’s father who had already passed away was named as the most beautiful father.
 
Diao Yan-Hua went to receive the prize on behalf of her father. In the evening party, she met the caring private entrepreneur Mr. Zhangke, who later hired her as the Editor of the provincial-level publication “Literary Retrospective.”

Not only does Mr. Zhangke give her the greatest financial help, but also affirm her hard work spiritually.

Although the road ahead might not be too far, but it would definitely be very difficult.

As long as she won’t fall down halfway, she would move ahead persistently, even if it’s very slow.

At least, she would always look ahead.