China / People

Wheelchair-bound female writer inspires others through her words

By Jin Dan ( Updated: 2016-05-19 15:34


Wheelchair-bound female writer inspires others through her words

Li Yujie (left) offers reader services for a woman coming to borrow books from the rural bookstore on April 12 at Toubi community, Yidu city, Central China's Hubei province. [Photo/Xinhua]

A 26-year-old woman from the rural area of Yichang city, Central China's Hubei province has suffered a serious disease that deforms her hands and feet, but she has vowed to live on her own through writing.

Li Yujie was diagnosed of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic, systemic inflammatory disorder that primarily affects joints, when she was 7 years old. The so-called "undying cancer" caused her insufferable pain with swelling wrists and ankles.

Li's father was a plasterer and worked at construction sites, and her mother worked together with him. The poor parents had little time to take care of Li when she was little, but she was determined to fight against destiny herself through learning and writing.

Li used to walk to school with her deformed legs, and she had to bend down to reduce the pain. In order to attend class on time, she had to get up earlier in case that she had to take a rest on the way to school because of the great pain. She even drank as little water as possible to avoid using the toilet at school.

Her extraordinary efforts gained her top marks in school. The headmaster of her middle school is still impressed that she got first place in all the courses in her grade many times, except in Physical Education.

However, the disease was pitiless, and Li was totally paralyzed in May 2004. Although she "deeply yearned" to stay in school, she had to drop out so as to avoid causing more trouble for her family, giving up on her dream of going to university.

In the dark days, Li was cheered up by the novel The Old Man and Sea, with the line "A man can be destroyed but not defeated." Li started creating her own literary works.

In 2015, she had one of her articles The Little Lamp published in the magazine Reading for Middle School Students, receiving hundreds of encouraging comments from students across China.

Inspired by those encouraging words, she continued writing and became a four-time winner of the first prize in the Chinese Juvenile Writers Cup National Writing Contest.

Dream Above the Height of 110cm, her autobiographic work of about 250,000 words was published in July 2015 after 3 years of writing, with 5000 copies printed in its initial print run.

At the invitation of many institutions and schools, Li has given about 7,000 speeches in 8 townships of Yichang. She is also employed as a supervisor by many schools to help students out of their "growing pains".

In 2013, she started her own philanthropic project at Toubi community in Yidu city to help children who come to her rural bookstore with their homework.

Thanks to her efforts, her bookstore was named one of the Top 10 Inspiring Bookstores of Hubei.

"As long as I can speak and write, I'm willing to contribute my part to society," said Li.

Wheelchair-bound female writer inspires others through her words

Li Yujie pushes forwarddrives her wheelchair at Toubi community, Yidu city, Central China's Hubei province. [Photo/Xinhua]

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