When Hu Huiyuan was born, she was not expected to live more than a few days. She survived these odds, and ten months later, her parents were told that she had cerebral palsy, according an article recently posted by the Daily Mail. The 21-year-old Chinese woman’s movements are so limited by CP that she is only able to control her head and her left foot properly. However, this condition has not stopped Hu, who taught herself to read and write and to type on a keyboard with her foot, ultimately leading her to create a 60,000-word novel.
The province of China in which Hu grew up is so impoverished that “even able-bodied children struggle to get a formal education,” according to the Daily Mail. However, Hu taught herself how to read and write by learning from television subtitles.
As a result of self-teaching, Hu can type 20 to 30 words per minute with her foot. She plans for her book to be eight chapters long and has already written six chapters, spanning approximately 60,000 words. While typing, Hu stays stable by being fastened to her wheelchair.
The skill certainly could not have come easily to Hu, as the intense muscle rigidity or weakness that comes with cerebral palsy can cause severe problems with motor skills, coordination, and balance. However, Hu has not let her disability deter her. “When you have a disability like this,” Hu is quoted as saying, “you have to learn patience.”
Portions of Hu’s novel have been pre-released online, according to the Huffington Post, and have been met with positive reception.
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- Anna Hodgekiss, “The woman writing a novel with her LEFT FOOT: Disabled 21-year-old has written more than 60,000 words using just her toes,” Daily Mail Online
- Kimberly Yam, “This Woman Who Has Cerebral Palsy Is Writing An Entire Novel By Typing With Her Toes,” Huffington Post