Sun, Oct 03, 2004 - Page 3 News List

President visits handicapped writer to praise her spirit

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday visited a wheelchair-bound writer, praising her courage and love of life.

Sleeve Yu (余秀芷), 30, is the author of Persist and You Will See Hope (堅持,就會看見希望), which tells how a mysterious illness paralyzed her from the waist down six years ago.

Yu's condition ended her budding modeling career, and she endured periods of depression and pessimism before gaining self-realization and deciding to make her life worthwhile despite her physical condition.

"Seeing Ms. Yu, my wife and other physically challenged [people], who not only conquered difficulties but also take part in competitions ... [I am] deeply moved by their hard work and effort," said Chen. He added that physically challenged people should not face discrimination or be viewed as burdens to society.

First lady Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍) was paralyzed from the waist down after being repeatedly run over by a truck in a 1985 assassination attempt whose perpetrator was never found.

"Some people might easily give up when confronted with setbacks in life ? but we must believe in ourselves; only by believing can we have strength, banish fears and accomplish our dreams through persistence," said the president.

He said that during Wu's recent trip to the Paralympic Games in Athens that her persistence had won respect and safeguarded the nation's dignity.

Yu was one of 12 finalists in the first beauty pageant for wheelchair-bound women hosted by the Eden Social Welfare Foundation in July.

Yu has made frequent appearances on TV programs, citing her story as an example to encourage others not to give up on their lives.

She made a national speaking tour to schools and corporations, stressing the importance of attitude when dealing with hardships in life.

Yu also has received the Passion for Life award presented by the Chou Ta-kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation (周大觀文教基金會).

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