Videos of an eight-year-old girl in China running for the first time in two years after she was paralysed below the waist in an accident have received more than 160 million views on Weibo and brought many people to tears.
The girl, named Anqi, is from Xiangtan in Hunan province in central China. The videos show different stages of her recovery over the last two years in which she is seen participating in gruelling rehabilitation exercises and finally running.
Anqi had a spinal cord injury in 2020 while dancing, according to her mother, surnamed Yuan. Consequently, she lost all of her motor skills below the waist, leaving her effectively paralysed.
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“The doctor told us to be prepared that she might be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life,” Yuan told Yangtse Evening Post.
However, after just one month of diligent home rehabilitation therapy, a defiant Anqi was already able to stand.
“It only took her a month to be able to stand up again,” Yuan recalled.
The rehabilitation process was a painful combination of anguish and tears Yuan said.
“After witnessing all the suffering, I told her: ‘Mum is heartbroken seeing you like this, maybe we should just give up,’” Yuan said. “But she reassured me by telling me that: ‘I just don’t have strength on my feet right now, but I will definitely be able to stand up again,’ refusing to give up.”
Anqi would engage in at least six hours a day of rehabilitation training following her father’s instructions once she was able to stand, according to Yuan.
Videos of Anqi’s rehabilitation sessions show her crying and screaming along with each movement, which many people would consider to be simple physical actions but required great effort for the girl.
“Even though she would cry to release her frustration after rehab, she never said she was going to give up,” Yuan said.
Many people expressed sadness after watching the videos online on mainland social media, according to Yuan, but she and her husband said they decided to be “ruthless” for the sake of Anqi’s future.
“This is something concerning the rest of her life,” Yuan said. “Therefore, even if it may appear brutal, we must choose what is best for her.”
Many people also commented online showing sympathy and expressing their admiration for the girl.
“The moment when she starts jogging, it’s all worth it,” one person commented. “Fate favours those who do not give in.”
Another said: “Baby, you are fantastic! Your spirit has uplifted countless others.”
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