Zhang Wei, an ALS patient who is predicted by a doctor not to survive 18 after diagnosis, has succeeded in climbing two high mountains in the last two months. His courageous story was reported by some of China's online news websites.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neurone disease (MND) or Lou Gehrig's disease, causes gradually worsening weakness due to muscle atrophy. People with ALD may feel weak and easily tired in the early stage and slowly suffer from muscular atrophy all over the body and dysphagia and eventually die from respiratory failure. The average lifespan of someone with ALS is five years after diagnosis.
The 29-year-old man wanted to encourage the sick and disadvantaged people, in particular, those suffering from ALS, with his seemingly impossible deed; more importantly, he wished to imitate his model, Nick Vujicic who was born with tetra-amelia syndrome, to bring glory to God.
Zhang and Nick have a lot in common: Zhang's grandfather was a preacher and Nick has a father who is a pastor; they were much ridiculed and discriminated against with suicide attempts; they can live on their own and have made stunning things; they are Christians who are dedicated for the glory of God.
In contrast to the Australian life fighter who has kind-hearted parents, Zhang was born in a tougher plight. His parents divorced and abandoned him in less than a month after his birth, as a result, his paternal grandparents had to take care of him. He couldn't walk at 7, and two years later, his beloved grandfather passed away.
However, the grateful thing was that his Christian grandfather often told him not to hate the world, but smile to it, because everybody was created by God. The almighty wouldn't discard him who was "God's sweetheart."
But later he was deceived to beg for money, controlled by bad guys, and saved from a gang. He started the homeless life at the age of 16 and moved from northern China to the south according to different seasons. The place to sleep could be a railway station, under a bridge, on cement pipes or in a corridor. At times, despair drove him to commit suicide in different ways, but he escaped from death each time. The situation lasted more than ten years.
Meanwhile, he received much help from strangers. He was given money, free train tickets, clothes, food, and accommodation ... The kindness reminded him of his grandfather's word: "At any time, God will never leave you."
The major turning point in his life came in the autumn of 2017 as he met Sister Meng Mian who took him in and led him to the church.
Despite that she and her husband needed to support their child who was an undergraduate, Meng rented an apartment and cooked meals for him. In December 2017, Zhang was baptized into Christ.
Three months earlier, a doctor noticed the decline in his physical condition, saying that he could die before 30. It meant that he would only have two years left.
No willing to leave the world quietly, he wanted to challenge himself - to climb the Five Great Mountains of China before 30. Last June, he climbed Mount Tai, one of the Mountains, with Meng.
With a height of 1.75 m and a weight of just 25 kilos, he who had few muscles had to move forward with his thin arms. It took four or five seconds for a healthy adult to go up five steps, but he needed 50 seconds to do that. During the process, some good-hearted people picked him up in their arms for some way; on straight roads, Meng carried him on her back to provide him a rest; the mountaineers took the initiative to make a way for him. At last, he reached the top after 10-hour efforts.
One month later, he used 22 hours to arrive at the summit of Mount Hua, the West Great Mountain. On the way to the top, Meng celebrated his 29-year-old birthday. His next stop would be the Great Wall.
Zhang added that he didn't fear death a long time ago. Every single day he lived was extra earned. He expected to give the rest of his life to God and to be a person of value in God's eyes.
- Translated by Karen Luo