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  • Chris McMillan

The girl in a wheelchair: Up and giving


18th January 2021

The girl in a wheelchair: Up and giving

Editor's note: China Mosaic looks into the diversity and complexity of China. In the second episode, we focus on the lives of the disabled people in China.

"When I jump from 3,000 feet, I feel free, free from the wheelchair. I'm also released and I can see the vastness of land. Falling straight down through the clouds is thrilling," said Pan Meihao, a 27-year-old woman who has been in a wheelchair since she was a child due to spinal cord injuries.

Growing up in a small town in the city of Nanyang, central China's Henan Province, Pan had limited chances to interact with other people or the outside world when she was young. "Before I came to Beijing, the only people that I spent time with were my family. I thought that nobody had disabilities and everybody could walk," said Pan. At that time, she thought that she would never live on her own because she was a "patient" and she had to be taken care of by others throughout her life.

However, Pan changed her mind after she came to Beijing to participate in a charity project that encourages and helps young people disabled by rare diseases be independent. Thanks to the project, Pan got the chance to make new friends who share similar experiences and she came to realize that she was not alone. "When I'm in trouble, nobody around me says, 'Oh, you're not up to it,' or 'You won't make it.' We encourage each other instead," Pan stated.

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