Tuesday, 30 October 2007
(picture via TVBS news)
Last Thursday, I followed a story in the newspaper about an eleven-year-old boy who is paralyzed from waist down since birth. His mother spends 24 hours a day taking care of him at school and at home, so does not have time to work and so lives off of welfare. His father owes a lot of money and is AWOL, leaving Mom and five children to fend for themselves. Other siblings are either married or away at college. Take away college expenses for brothers and sisters, medical bills, rent, mother and son only have TWD 200 (a little less than USD 6) for food each day. They don't have money for a wheelchair, so Mother has to carry him everywhere. Only at school do they have access to a wheelchair. At home, he gets around by crawling on his elbows and hands. And every four hours, Mother has to help him urinate by putting a tube into his belly button, where doctors have put in another tube that connects to his bladder. To keep his body developing properly, he has to wear braces around his torso and both of his legs, which his mother has to put on for him. But he's grown out of those braces, and they're so financially strapped that there's just no way they can afford new ones. Imagine having to come up with NTD 60.000 when you only have NTD 200 to live on every day. They're trying to stretch the life of the braces by adding longer straps to them or stretching them out using objects they find in the house. But they're so small that they hurt the poor boy and he has abrasion marks all over his body because of them. Grim as their situation is, the boy is more positive and full of sunshine than anyone could imagine. He tells his mother, "Mom, don't worry, I'm going to be president of a hair salon chain one day so you can live comfortably."
Here's the story:
半身癱瘓只能爬 陽光男堅強 (25 October 2007)
11歲陽光少年 半身癱瘓 只能爬
半身癱瘓 張育瑋 (朗讀課本):
民視新聞 翁郁容 吳政諺 台北報導
Saturday afternoon, the mother called me. She said, "Ms Weng, I just wanted to thank you for your help." When I finally came around to realizing who she was and what she was talking about, I asked her if people have offered help, and she said, "yes." What about the braces? Has anyone helped with those? "Yes, people have bought us new ones. They've all been paid for. And the bureau of education is going to see if they can help us with other things." Oh gosh, I was so happy for them! I feel like I've finally done something good and got to exercise the social responsibility that media so often brushes aside. It was really encouraging. But if the mother did not call to let me know of the outcome, then I would have had no idea that what we did actually meant anything.
Being shown appreciation is so encouraging. Phone calls like these mean so much to me. And comments, emails, text messages, phone calls from family, friends and viewers are so important to me too. It feels great when you guys let me know that you're there and that you saw one of my reports or my anchoring. So keep those messages coming! Advice and constructive criticism are greatly appreciated too!
I'm quite happy today, actually. I also got a letter at the office today from a viewer down south. It was a request for a photo of "主播翁郁容," (Michella Jade Weng, anchor) along with an enclosed envelope and stamp. Yay, I have a fan! Hopefully this one is not like the one that stopped by the office again today.
I have a stomach ache, neck ache and headache, but I am a happy girl today.