Eric (Zhou Zhi Li), was less than two years old when he first came to Christian Action Xining Children’s Home, suffering from cerebral palsy, right exotropia and optic atrophy. He underwent surgery in 2002, but still needed a walking aid.
Bruce Lee has always been Eric’s hero since he was little and he was desperate to learn Kung Fu. He even called himself “Bruce!” This dream fueled his desire to walk by himself.
In 2011, after 9 years of rehabilitation training, he took his first step on his own! After meeting Kelvin, our rehabilitation supervisor from Hong Kong, Eric discovered Kelvin knew martial arts and he pleaded with Kelvin to teach him. It seemed impossible for Eric. He could barely walk and his legs were still bent inwards, making it a challenge to stand still for long periods of time; but Kelvin finally agreed to let him try. Eric’s dream was coming true!
Eric’s life goal was to practice Kung Fu. He kept falling but he refused to give up. As he improved, Eric was often invited to perform in public. Everybody at the children’s home called him “Kung Fu Master” but he knew he could never kick with his legs in such a bent position. He was a mature young man and did not feel discouraged, “I learn Kung Fu for my physical fitness and to shape my personal qualities”, he said.
Although he was fulfilling his dream, he also realized he needed to plan for his future. He started to learn massage skills so he could become a massage therapist over time. This would enable him to make a living and be interactive in his community. With persistence, he successfully obtained the fundamental certificate for vocational massage therapy in 2015 but he never expected what was to come.
In November, 2015, Eric came to Hong Kong to attend Christian Action’s 30th Anniversary Charity Dinner and to have a medical check-up. After our friend, Dr. Lui King-Lok, studied Eric’s case, he believed his bent legs could be corrected through surgery. So in March of this year, with the help of Matilda Children’s Foundation, Eric arrived in Hong Kong to undergo 2 surgeries. The surgeries went very smoothly – what a great 18th birthday present!
With appropriate physiotherapy, Eric will be walking normally in no time. We look forward to seeing him walking step by step, successfully fulfilling his dreams!
Thank you for your sacrificial support which has been an essential part of Eric’s life and of the lives of many hundreds of orphaned and “at risk” children and youth living on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai Province!