Yan Yuhong walks on his hands near his village. It takes him more than an hour to get to school every day. (Weibo.com)
Imagine you contracted polio and lose the ability to walk at the tender age of one. How are you going to get around?
Twelve-year-old Yan Yuhong faced exactly this plight, but he hasn’t let it defeat him. Instead, he learnt to crawl at age 4, and by age 6, he learned to walk with his hands.
Getting to school each day requires a combination of methods. Every morning at 7:15 a.m., Yan sets off from his home village in the city of Yibin in Sichuan Province, with his sister at his side holding his backpack and hers, and their grandmother follows behind them.
During this journey, Yan alternates between hand standing, crawling, and walking with crutches. His hands are grazed by the pebble-strewn roads. Removing his shoes and placing them on his hands, Yan forges ahead.
When they encounter a slippery field, Yan’s grandmother carries him on her back. A thoughtful, compassionate boy, Yan always asks to be let down once they cross the field so he can ‘walk’ the rest of the way on his own.
Yan climbs on his grandmother’s back in preparation to cross a field. (Weibo.com)
After more than an hour, Yan finally arrives at school. His walking routine is only half done, however, as he still has to head home after school.
Fortunately for Yan, his family has never ceased their loving support of him. His parents never gave up searching far and wide for a cure. When their money ran out, they left home to work as laborers, while Yan’s grandparents took care of him. His parents now make a living selling fish back at home.
Whilst recounting Yan tribulation, tears well up in his grandmother’s eyes.
“I hope that he will do well in his studies so that he can make a living for himself when he gets older,” said his grandmother. She has cause for concern.
As Yan is at his desk, diligently doing his homework, he says, “I need to work hard and excel at my studies,” adding, “This is my goal. Only then will I be able to repay my grandmother.”