Disabled Son in China takes care of paralysed father – write up by Suhani Mehta

The relationship between Zhang Xiaodong and his father shows one of unconditional love. Several years ago, Zhang Xiaodong’s father had a stroke, leaving him paralyzed. The 36 year-old Zhang was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis in 2008. Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes inflammation in the joints and ligaments of the spine. Since being diagnosed with it, Zhang has only been able to move his arms and hands. Although having these very limited physical capabilities, he still takes care of his father who had a stroke (which left Zhang’s father paralyzed). Everyday, Zhang lifts himself into his wheelchair with his hands and arms, goes grocery shopping, helps his father wash his face, and prepares meals for the day. 

In 2008, Zhang was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis in 2008. His condition worsened after three months, which resulted in him now only being able to use his hands and arms. Zhang’s relatives used to take care of him and his father, but in March of 2021, he decided to move out. He felt that his relatives’ mental and economic health were going down, and he realized that he needed to be dependent on himself. 

In 2021, Zhang started a youtube channel to show his daily life. Since then, many volunteers have come and helped Zhang and his father in their house, and doctors have reached out to Zhang to help him get the surgery he needs to fix his joints and allow him to stand up straight again. 

Zhang says that it is easy for him to give up on himself, but if he gives up on his father, there will be no one to take care of him. Because of this incentive, Zhang reminds himself everyday to never give up no matter how difficult his life may be. He is extremely thankful for all the help he has received and hopes that he and his father will have a good life someday. 

This story is inspiring not only to me, but many others across China and the rest of the world. It shows that even though Zhang Xiaodong is disabled himself, and has trouble in his life already, he loves his father so much that he is personally taking care of him. It really shows the love this man has for his father, and the determination and perseverance present in him. Despite the fact that he had normally abled relatives who were taking care of him and his father, Zhao Xiaodong took it upon himself to take care of his father and the home. It shows us that no matter what difficulties we face in life, when there is a will, there is a way for us to find solutions to our problems.