Three Amputee Dancers Achieve the Impossible and Conquer Jade Mountain One Step at a Time
Would you have the courage to challenge Jade Mountain, the highest peak in Taiwan, if you didn’t have any hands to pull on the guide ropes, or if you had to lift a 3 kg prosthesis with every single step? This was precisely the incredible feat accomplished by three amputee dancers, Wang Shu-chiao, Yang Tsai-jung and Kuo Wei-chi, from the Disabled Performing Arts Group. Wang Shu-chiao lost her left palm in a mincing machine accident at the age of 9, Yang Tsai-jung had her left arm run over by a train when she was a baby, and 20 year-old Kuo Wei-chi became a quadruple amputee at the age of 7 when a cold turned into septicemia.
On April 23rd, the three ‘warriors’, each physically handicapped, refused to give up and used their iron wills to conquer Jade Mountain one step at a time. Standing at the peak of the mountain, 3952 m above sea level, they proved to the world that anything is possible if you have the courage to try. The climb was widely reported in the media, with headlines on the United Daily News, TTV News, SET News, and FTV News. They were even accompanied by a film director who documented the determination and resolve of their every step.
The "ADLINK Message of Love from the Disabled" educational event, organized by the ADLINK Education Foundation, went to Leli Elementary School in New Taipei City's Tucheng District on April 24th. The three amputee dancers, who had just descended from Jade Mountain the day before, shared the rigors of the climb as well as their inner journeys. As mothers, Shu-chiao and Tsai-jung mentioned how worried and afraid their children were when they decided to climb the mountain. One of Shu-chiao's daughters, an elementary school student, said, "Climbing Jade Mountain is very dangerous. Can't you not go, mother?" Shu-chiao did her best to comfort her daughters and described her plan to climb the mountain in detail. She also went online to find a detailed map of the mountain for her daughters, so they would not be as worried.
Wei-chi was just about to start the climb when she realized that she had forgotten her anti-epilepsy medication. She immediately went to the Show Chwan Hospital in Nantou to ask the doctors there for a prescription. The doctor she met with was reluctant write the prescription, since it was for a chronic illness. In the end, the crisis was averted by Wei-chi’s younger brother taking a photo of the prescription and forwarding it to the doctor who copied it line by line.
Later, Wei-chi also said that she really wanted to give up the climb at around 2000 meters. She began to feel as if every step shot daggers into her legs where they met the prostheses. Despite applying many layers of artificial skin to prevent her legs from rubbing against the prostheses, the pain became increasingly unbearable. During her journey, her prostheses also became detached several times due to over-use, causing her to fall over. The pain from all of these problems made Wei-chi collapse on the ground at one point, swearing to never get up again.
Her fellow climbers Shu-chiao and Tsai-jung decided to challenge her by saying, "It's OK! Give up if you like! It's so much easier to just go down the mountain!" Upon hearing this, Wei-chi immediately fired back, "I won't give up! I will keep going!" She had sworn on her grandfather's grave that she would not give up without a fight and that she would not fail in her challenge.
Wei-chi had been the apple of her grandfather's eye. When Wei-chi became a quadruple amputee as a child, the shock was too much for the old man and he passed away after a stroke. His passing filled Wei-chi with guilt and sadness. When she finally climbed to the peak of Jade Mountain, she took out her grandfather's photo and held it in her teeth. Her tears flowed freely and she could only sob. All she wanted to do was tell her favorite grandfather that, "Chi-chi did it!"
All the students and teachers at Leli Elementary School that day must have asked themselves, "If they can do it, why can't I?" This kind of awe-inspiring life education no doubt served as an inspiration to the young students, giving them the strength to overcome their own obstacles.
If there is something you want to do, but have not yet gotten around to doing it, have the courage to take the first step. Follow the example of these three incredible people and do the impossible. Challenge yourself and do something that you will always laugh about when you think of it!