Father Carries Disabled Son 18 Miles A Day to School

xiaoCommentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

The story of a Chinese father of a disabled son who has been carrying his son 18 miles a day to school and back is warming hearts around the globe – and won him new government-funded accommodations near the school to make his life easier.

The Daily Mail is reporting on the story of Yu Xukang, 40, whose son, Xiao Qiang, 12, was born with a hunched back and legs so twisted that he is unable to walk. Xukang, who lives in China’s Sichuan province, was so determined to see his son educated that he constructed a special basket in which he can carry the boy on his back to and from school every day.

“I know that my son is physically disabled but there is nothing wrong with his mind,” Xukang said. “However, I couldn’t find any school here with the facilities to accept him and was constantly rejected.”

The only school that would accept the boy was in a neighboring township which is nearly five miles away. Because there is no school bus and no public transportation, Xukang decided he had no choice but to carry the boy to school every day.

As a result, Xukang, who has been separated from Xiao’s mother since the boy was three, must endure a grueling daily schedule.

” . . . Every morning I get up at 5am to prepare a lunch for him to eat and then I walk the four-and-a-half miles to the school, and then come back here so I can work to earn money. I then walk back to the school to pick up my son and bring him home.”

He has been doing this since September and says he’s probably walked about 1600 miles.

“My son with his disabilities is not in a position to walk on his own and it also means that he can’t ride a bike. Despite being 12 he’s just 90 cm tall. But I am proud of the fact that he is already top of his class and I know he will achieve great things. My dream is that he will go to college.”

The good news is that after word of Xukang’s plight broke in local media, the government stepped in and offered to rent him a room near the school so that he does not have to walk so far each day.

The school is also being adapted so that it can take in boarding students, such as Xiao, in the near future.

The best part about this story is that the young father’s devotion to his disabled son is being seen around the world. In the increasingly hard-hearted western culture where Xiao would be lucky to survive his mother’s first ultra-sound, it’s important for people to see that a child doesn’t have to be perfect to be born – and loved!

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