Tue, Feb 18, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Paralyzed man inspires others on dance stage

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Despite being wheelchair-bound, a 30-year-old man is trying to be an inspiration to others who have suffered the same fate by finding a place on the dance stage.

Having been elected head of Ming Chuan University’s finance department and its goodwill ambassador, Lin Cheng-wei (林政緯) used to believe that he had a bright future ahead of him until an accident in July 2007 left him paralyzed.

The accident took place when Lin was in his senior year at a beach in what was then Taipei County’s Jinshan (金山). He tried to impress the girls by jumping into the sea, but hit his head on a shallow shoal, breaking his neck and spine.

“I remained conscious after the accident, but I could not feel anything below the neck,” Lin said.

He was forced to drop out of school for two years in order to undergo surgery and receive physical therapy. With the encouragement of his family and friends, he later decided to return to school and finish his college degree.

Lin’s life took a turn for the better in 2012 when he saw a commercial featuring Kuo Wei-chi (郭韋齊), a 20-year-old woman who lost all four of her limbs after suffering a critical illness as a child.

The commercial was promoting the first talent competition held by the Wan Hai Charity Foundation for the physically challenged, titled “If I Can, You Can” (愛,有為), of which Kuo was the spokesperson.

“To do a lot of things in my life I need assistance from others, but when it comes to dancing, I can do it by myself,” Kuo said in the commercial.

Lin signed up for the competition and won third place. He was chosen as the spokesperson for the second talent competition this year.

The top three winners are required to embark on a performance tour of the nation’s schools, prisons and hospitals.

Although Lin was physically unfit for such long-distance travel, he said: “It is worthwhile enduring some discomfort in exchange for a few minutes on stage.”

“If I could choose, I would never choose to become a fighter,” Lin said. “Since I did not get to choose, all I can do is seize the moment every day and never compare myself to others.”

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