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Single mother in Hubei raises future Harvard grad despite son's cerebral palsy

By Sun Wenyu (People's Daily Online)    16:16, May 16, 2017

A woman from Jingzhou, Hubei province can truly call herself a proud mother, as she raised her son, afflicted with severe cerebral palsy, to become a law student at Harvard.

Twenty-nine years ago, a medical accident caused intrauterine hypoxia to affect Zou Hongyan's fetus, depriving the fetus of oxygen. Doctors advised Zou to terminate her pregnancy, but she instead persevered to deliver her son, now 29 years old.

Out of the worry for the family's future, Zou's husband also opposed the delivery, telling Zou that he would not raise the child. Disappointed by her husband's ruthless attitude, Zou ultimately divorced him, starting down a life path that she knew would be extremely hard.

Due to her son's severe cerebral palsy and impaired motor nerves, the baby, nicknamed Dingding, was unable to walk until he was 3 years old. Because of Dingding's developmental delays, Zou had to devote much more time and energy to her baby than most mothers do. She worked during the daytime, taking Dingding to the hospital for treatments at night. She also massaged him, and spent her lunch breaks playing games with him to encourage his mental development.

Zou also tried her best to help her son overcome his learning difficulties. As a result, Dingding recognized more than 100 characters before he even turned 2. Under Zou's meticulous guidance, Dingding graduated from Peking University in 2011, and was admitted to Harvard Law School in March 2016.

"I never imagined applying to Harvard - it was my mother who encouraged me," Dingding said, adding that Zou always protects and encourages him whenever he doubts himself. In Dingding's eyes, Zou is his spiritual mentor. However, Zou says she just did what any mother would do to help her beloved child thrive.

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(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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