Home>Service> Awardees of Fervent Global Love of Lives Award> 14th Fervent Global Love of Lives Award 2011> Wheelchair Queen--He Hsin-ju
Legless Dancer of a Life Miracle; Optimist Doing Good Deeds
      Somebody asked her: “What made you walk out?”
      She replied: “Myself”.
      He then asked “What should I do to make a change? “
      She said, “Open up your heart.”
      He asked again, “Are you not worried about how other sees you?“
      She replied, “Of course I do! However, I cannot lose my own right to pursue happiness just because they look at me differently.”

      She lost both legs in amputation at the age of nine after a train accident. She stayed in the hospital for three months, after rounds of operations, major and minor. She kissed the death multiple times and spent two years in rehabilitation after she left hospital. After shutting herself down for 14 years, she finally realized the real handicap is not with a physically-challenged body, but in a heart. A legless girl, Hsin-ju He, decided to march forward. She tried sailing, swimming, rock climbing, horse riding, shooting, canoeing and jet skiing. She believes the world is where her heart is. Although her body is trapped to a wheelchair, she is convinced that her world is where her heart goes. And her heart is free. She established a performing group, As Easy as Clapping Hands with her son and took part in all kinds of charity events. She dances the story of her life with her wheelchair, in order to encourage other people. In 2006, she was awarded the 10 th Golden Award as one of the top 10 outstanding people with mental and physical challenges. As a wheelchair dancing queen, she received the 14 th Love of Lives Medal from Chou, Ta-Kuan Foundation in 2011.
Everything She Wanted
      Hsin-ju He, currently working in Northern Branch, Taiwan Power, was born on November 28, 1968 in Hsinchi Hsinfeng. It was a beautiful and simple village. She was a popular kid. She had an astute observation and leader of other children. She did well in school and spoke eloquently. She was a good student in the eyes of teachers. She had everything she wanted.
      Every day Hsin-ju had to walk through a bamboo forest, a large paddy field and took train and then walked through a main road to go to school. Perhaps everything was meant to happen. Before her accident, weird things occurred. The poultry died for no reason. Three elderly members in the family passed away suddenly. One day on her way back from school, she fell into a big hole with water deep enough to drown her next to the rail. Fortunately a kind passenger on the platform rescued her in time. However, a few days later, next to the rail in the same train station, also on her way back from school, she met her mother who was also going home. She did not see the train was racing toward her. Suddenly her mother heard the screaming of the platform manager and she pulled Hsin-ju by the neck with an umbrella handle. By the time she realized, the train was already running next to her. It was the second close call. However, a destined tragedy was bound to happen to her in this train station.
Tragedy—Where Are My Legs?
      On that day in 1997, Sanchi Elementary School held its annul sports competition. As usual, Hsin-ju took away all the prizes. She broke her own records in track and field events, which Hsin-ju was the best at. She dashed out of school with these trophies, because she wanted to surprise her family. On the way, she bumped into her mother, who was returning from the market. Out of blue, she was hit with a force whilst she followed her mother. She did not know what happened but felt the wheels ran over her. She was pulled to under the train. Her mother wanted to pull her out, but was bounced away and wounded. Hsin-ju was dragged for 100 meters before the train came to a full stop. She lied on the rails, with her lower body run over by the train. Nobody could see what happened to her below her waist. Everything happened so quickly. She did not realize how bad it was until she heard her mother screaming. Somebody held her and tried to stop a car. However, no car was willing to drive her, with blood all over, to the hospital. Until one man stopped a car with his own body, her mother grabbed Hsin-ju into the car. At that time, her lower limbs were completely shattered, with a thin layer of skin connecting her feet. On the way to the hospital, Hsin-ju asked her mother, “My feet will grow back, right?” Her mother could only cry and did not say a thing. It was the last time she saw her complete legs.
      The doctor feared that she might experience a shock so he only administered spinal anesthesia during the operation. She clearly heard the sound of her legs “being handled”. The air was frozen and time was still. She was surprised at how loud her heartbeat was. The operation lasted about six hours, but felt like a lifetime to her parents. Her mother finally shook up with emotions when the nurse handed her the two small feet with lovely sports shoes on. Her heart cried out, “Why Hsin-ju? How can I tell her that she can no longer walk or run….”
Excruciating Pains
      She was sent to the intensive care center after the operation. However, waves of pains came over the effect of anesthesia worn off. Days in the intensive care ward were about pain killer injections, passing out and waking up with pain and more pain killer injections. She stayed in Hsin Chu General Hospital for a week and was transferred to National Taiwan University Hospital for better equipment. Her mother took care of her around the clock, but she often screamed out in the middle of dreams. She would be so emotional that not even a few adults could control her, like the character in the movie “The Exorcist” . During the treatment, her left leg had to be soaked in medication every day to avoid infections because there was no skin protection. She experienced excruciating pains the moment her leg was put in medicinal liquids. On one occasion, her blood came out from teeth because of the pain. She was also the youngest one in the wards. She took countless needles during that period. Sometimes the injection could not go through although the needle was inserted. There was one time when the nurse could not find the veins after eight attempts. The needle went through her small arm and there was blood still. She held back her tears, but her parents and the nurse were about to cry. Later a very skilful nurse went to administer injections for her in order to eliminate some of her pains.
      In that year, her mother was 29 years old and Hsin-ju was 9 years old. That was a period of indescribable pains. Hsin-ju survived because her mother's persistence and her resilience. However, she lived like a walking dead in the following 14 years, dragging a shattered body, without heart or soul.
14 Years as a Walking Dead
      After she left the hospital, she hid away from people. She used the most primitive and passive way to cope with her sadness. She thought it was a way of releasing pains, but it only pushed herself to desperation. She also pushed her family to the abyss of sadness. Nobody could help a person who decided to give up on himself or herself.
      After the long treatment, Hsin-ju had to go through tedious physical rehabilitation. Her mother took her to National Taiwan University Hospital every day, rain or shine. Her joints on the right leg shrank due to a lack of exercise and had to be pushed flat so that she could one day put up artificial limbs. However, she found the pains unbearable. Her mother could not help herself but to ask the therapist to stop. In the end, the therapist asked her mother to leave, by saying “You have to be cruel to be kind so that she could stand up one day.” Finally, her joints were straightened up. She put on the artificial limbs to learn how to walk, stand and sit down.
      To be close to medical resources, the whole family moved to Taipei . When Hsin-ju returned to the elementary school, it was her third year. She had to start anew, facing a new environment, new teachers and new classmates. Most important of all, she had to deal with confusion and doubts from others. She wanted to run away again. Her mother sensed her fears, but insisted that she could continue her education. It was the only hope for her life. However, she remained quiet and avoided contacts with classmates. Afraid of being a burden to classmates, she did not even join the graduation trip. After the completion of junior high school, she was admitted to Taipei Jing-mei Girls' Senior High School based on the entrance examination results. However, she lost interest in school work and did not make it to the university as her parents had expected. She failed for two consecutive years. She started to think what she could do if she did not continue with her education.
Light & Miracle—World Is Where Heart Is
      In 1991, she registered with free Japanese classes. It was there she met her husband. He allowed her to find herself back, making her believe that the real handicap is not with the body, but the heart. At that year, Hsin-ju was 23 and her husband was 21.
      She and her husband fell in love at the first sight. She was surprised that how she could smile so happily when their eyes met. She thought she had forgotten how to smile after she shut herself out for 14 years. One week later, she accepted his invitation for a date. Since then, H sin-ju tried many things she could not have imagined. She started to learn how to swim, climb, backpacking overseas, canoeing, sailing, paragliding, jet skiing, dirt biking, combat camping and touring Taiwan on a motorbike. She was free from the stereotype of the physically challenged because her world is where her heart is.
      After seven years of dating, they finally overcame many difficulties and got married with the blessings from everybody. Hsin-ju got pregnant six months into the marriage. All the people around her were worried whether she could take care of the child. Her parents were concerned whether her legs could support her own weight and the baby's weight. However, she was different from before. She believed that things can eventually be resolved one way or another. Although her disabled legs could no longer fit into the artificial limbs before labor, she went to work on time every day. She did everything for the child. Finally on January 6, 1999, her son was born.
As Easy as Clapping Hands for Charity Work

      Hsin-ju loved ballet since she was a child. She once wished to dance like a ballerina. After she lost her legs, she had been looking for tools that could replace her legs for dancing. In 2002, she discovered wheelchair dancing and never stopped. Because she is good with music and flexible in movement, she took the gold medal in her first competition. In 2004, the Taiwanese wheelchair dancing association decided to participate in the global competition by selecting three teams. Hoping to win the competition, she went through rigorous training programs. She fell off from the wheelchair times after times. Sometimes, her fingers got stuck in the wheel. She broke her bones or starched her skin. Finally, she became a qualified player, representing Taiwan to compete in Japan . She took the prize of the fourth place in the world competition in Japan and the top prize in Asia .
      Chou Yi-Fan is Hsin-ju's son. He is an angel in her life. Whenever Hsin-ju practices wheelchair dancing, he always keeps her company. Chou Yi-Fan is a helper in her life and a young volunteer worker in the eyes of other disabled people. One day, he asked his mother to perform in the sports event of his school because he would like to introduce her to all the teachers and classmates. Hsin-ju did not realize that she had become the pride of her kid. Because of his request, Hsin-ju decided to choreograph a Jazz hip-hop wheelchair dance for herself and her son. This was a way of sharing her life story with his school so that it encourages students to always look at the bright side of life.
      Hsin-ju and Chou Yi-Fan teamed up As Easy as Clapping Hands, to perform in countless charity events. They danced to raise funds for nursery schools and cheer up suicidal students. They went to perform in prison to encourage the prisoners to reform themselves. They went to hospitals to inspire patients. Through dancing, Hsin-ju and her son found the value and meaning of life.
      She always tells her friends not to worry how they are different from others because it imposes restrictions in thinking. Although Hsin-ju does not have two walking legs, her heart has wings. It takes her to enjoy the world and continue her life adventure. She wants to be different.