Girl Suffering from Cerebral Palsy Writes Fiction Novel Using Only Her Functional Foot
Typing with one hand when the other one is occupied can be a real pain, so imagine having to type with just one foot. It’s got to be a nightmare, but 21-year-old Hu Huiyuan from China’s Anhui province is using her only functional foot to write not just a few sentences, but an entire fiction novel!
Born prematurely, Hu was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was only 10 months old. This left her permanently paralyzed – the only parts of her body she can move are her head and left foot. As she grew older, she learned how to perform everyday tasks using her foot.
Despite not having received formal education, Hu is surprisingly well-spoken. Over the years, with the help of her mother, she taught herself to read and write. “I’m not a genius, but I’m much focused,” she said, modestly. “When I watched TV in my childhood, I often learned words with subtitles.”
“When I was teaching her how to speak, I had to be very patient as every single word might take a thousand times of repeating,” Hu’s mother said. “But once she mastered the word, I felt satisfied.”
With time, Hu’s language skills got so proficient that she set out to write a story about the pursuit of dreams and love. She’s doing this by typing out every single word on her computer using only one foot.
She has to target the specific keys she wants, move her foot towards the keyboard, and press it down with all her strength. Her body is fastened to a wheelchair while she’s typing, in order to keep her stable.
In spite of all these setbacks, Hu is able to type 20 to 30 words a minute. She has already written six chapters – that’s 60,000 words – and says she only has two more chapters to go before the novel is complete.