Overcoming Adversity: Single Mum Raises a Genius Son Despite his Cerebral Palsy

Zou Hongyan from Jingzhou, Hubei province has become an Internet sensation after news of how she single-handedly raised her son, afflicted with severe cerebral palsy, to become a law student at Harvard.

According to En.People.cn, 29 years ago, a medical accident caused intrauterine hypoxia to affect Zou’s fetus, depriving the fetus of oxygen. Doctors advised her to terminate her pregnancy, but she instead she refused and gave birth to her son, who is now 29 years old.

Worrying about the family’s future, Zou’s husband also opposed giving birth to the baby, telling Zou that he would not raise the child. Disappointed by her husband’s ruthless attitude, Zou ultimately divorced him, facing a life path that she knew would be extremely hard.

Luckily for Zou, she delivered the baby safely. Due to her son’s severe cerebral palsy and impaired motor nerves, the baby, Dingding, was unable to walk until he was 3 years old and because of his developmental delays, the proud mother had to devote much more time and energy to her baby than most mothers do.

According to her, 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.

Not relenting, Zou also tried her best to help her son overcome his learning difficulties. As a result, he 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 his mother always protects and encourages him whenever he doubts himself.”

To Dingding, Zou is his spiritual mentor. However, Zou says she just did what any mother would do to help her beloved child thrive.

Photo credit: People’s Daily Online


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