Mon, Mar 28, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Exceptional children honored at ceremony

ACHIEVEMENT Children who excel in the face of adversity were honored at an event where they shared the details of their daily trials and tribulations

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Ever since Lin Mei-chun (林玫君) and Lin Chian-you's (林千又) parents became paralyzed from the waist down in an accident five years ago, the two sisters, who are now in the sixth and seventh grades, respectively, wake up at 5am every morning to prepare breakfast and lunch for their parents.

After school, while many of their classmates go out and have fun, the two sisters head home to cook dinner, give their parents baths and clean up after them. Asked if they ever feel resentment at the burden, the sisters said they are just happy that their parents are still alive.

The Lin sisters are among two of the eight recipients at the Perseverance Award at a ceremony held by the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families yesterday.

The eight honorees, chosen from 35,000 children based on recommendations from the fund's local centers, were awarded for their optimism and determination in the face of financial, personal and family difficulties.

During the award ceremony held by the organization yesterday, the honorees shared their bitter-sweet stories of how they manage to excel in school while taking care of their families and themselves.

One such honoree, Jay Chang (張登傑), whose leg had to be amputated two years after a car accident, walked to the stage with a cane to receive the award.

Wearing a taekwondo suit he received from the Olympic gold medalist Chen Shih-hsin (陳詩欣), Chang said that the love of his mother, sister and people who support him gives him strength to overcome adversity.

"Although I came from a single-parent family and went had a bad accident, I never felt alone. I feel the love of my family, and know that one day I will walk out from the dark," Chang said.

Chang's mother Bai Hsue-yan (白雪燕) raised her two children alone after divorcing her husband. She said that her son has been very strong since the accident.

When he was told that his leg would have to be amputated, Chang said that he would fight for his life and never give up.

"Jay [Chang] never shed a tear during the rehabilitation process. Whenever he couldn't stand the pain, he would hold his taekwondo black belt to encourage himself to get well and stand up again," Bai said.

Peng Ming-tseng (彭明聰), chairman of the fund's board, said that optimism and strong will power are what make these children survive and endure.

"We [the fund] thanks these children for their inspiration and their love for people in need. We also urge the public to help more disadvantaged children and help them grow," Peng opined.

The Lin sisters' mother, Yang Ya-ting (楊雅婷), expressed her appreciation for her children.

"They never complain about having to take care of us," she said. "I feel sorry for forcing them to have to mature so early, but there is still a long way to go, and we have no choice but to teach them to be optimistic and strong."

After Yang and her husband became paralyzed, the younger Lin learned how to cook while the older sister assumed housework responsibilities.

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