For 10 years, Luo Yu had to literally lean on his mother to get around. And on International Women’s Day, he decided to express his deep gratitude for his mother with some touching words.
“My benevolent mother, happy International Women’s Day! I’m truly proud of you,” wrote Luo, a bespectacled 8th grader at Nanping School in Yibin City, Sichuan Province, in a note he had planned to read to his mother Xu Guowen on March 8, according to Sichuan News Net, a state-run news outlet.
The note continued: “Mother, you are my legs, and I wouldn’t be able to study without you being at my side all the time. You never tell me if you tire … I will definitely study harder and bring you a good life in the future.”
Luo had a bad fall in 2004 when he was 6 while traveling with his parents, who were migrant workers at the time, to Guangdong Province in southern China. His right kneecap was seriously damaged, and because Luo’s parents couldn’t afford to pay for proper treatment, the boy’s injury got progressively worse with time. Today, Luo cannot walk as his spine and shoulders have severely deformed.
All Xu Guowen could do was to carry her disabled son to and from school when he started elementary education in 2006. Mother and son have only missed a week of this routine when Luo Yu was too sick to go to school in fifth grade.
Luo Xianyou, Luo Yu’s father, appears to have become a ne’er-do-well—according to Chengdu Business Times, Luo Senior took to the bottle after his son’s became a cripple, and has “lost the ability to work due to excessive drinking.”
Chinese netizens who learned of the touching mother-son story took to Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese microblogging service, to sling a few choice words at the local education authorities, and wish Xu Guowen a happy International Women’s Day.
“Why can’t anyone to donate a wheelchair? What is wrong with the local educational bureau?” asked a netizen from Guangxi, another southern Chinese city.
A netizen going by the name “JQ Not For Sale 10” from Sichuan said “I want to pay tribute to all the great mothers around the world. Thank you for their selfless dedication. Happy International Women’s Day.”
Celebrated on March 8, International Women’s Day can trace its roots to New York when needle and textile women workers held a march in 1907 to demand better working hours, higher pay and voting rights, according to a University of Chicago website dedicated to commemorating the day. The 2016 global campaign theme is “Pledge for Parity,” or a call for women and men to have equal working rights and opportunities.