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Mother refused to abandon dying baby; her hardship really paid off

Posted June 7

A young mother’s worst fear was realized when her newborn son experienced a deadly birth complication that nearly caused him to suffocate, and resulted in Cerebral Palsy.

The doctors in the Hubei province suggested that the mother, Zou Honyan, should give up the baby. They said it was worthless trying to rescue her son, as he would grow up being disabled or having low intelligence.

Even Zou’s husband tried to persuade her to give up the baby, insisting that he would be a burden to the family. But Zou refused, and when her husband disowned their son, Zou divorced him.

Zou worked full-time and kept several part-time jobs on the side to provide for her son, Ding, and to be able to afford his health treatments.

In her free time, she took her son to his rehabilitation practices and played brain-stimulating games and puzzles with him. She also learned special massaging techniques to help ease his stiff muscles.

Zou insisted that her son would overcome his disability as much as possible.

For example, Ding had difficulty coordinating his hand movements, so he struggled using chop sticks. While many family members gave up on him learning to use them, Zou was determined to teach him.

“Otherwise, he would have to explain each time he dined with others why he was unable to use them,” she said. “I didn’t want him to feel ashamed about his physical problems.”

All of Zou’s love and hard work paid off—in 2011, her son Ding graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Peking University’s Environmental Science and Engineering School, and is now a student at Harvard.

"I would have never dared to apply to Harvard, but my mom encouraged me to give it a shot,” Ding said. “Whenever I'm hesitant, she is always there guiding me.”

Where would the world be without a mother's unconditional love? Ding is proof that anything is possible through determination, unwavering love and continuous hope.

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