Man travels 82,000 kilometers in a wheelchair

2024-07-02 20:25:44China Daily Editor : Mo Honge ECNS App Download

Zhang Ji takes a photo. (Screengrab/CCTV News app)

A wheelchair has not become a barrier for 55-year-old Zhang Ji in Shanghai who has traveled 82,000 kilometers and visited 450 revolutionary sites across China in the past six years, CCTV news reported.

"One cannot stop moving forward and exploring due to fear of difficulties," said Zhang.

Born in 1969, Zhang was affected by genetic factors and at the age of 6, he developed Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a condition that affects one in 2,500 people.

Despite his diagnosis, Zhang's early exposure to inspirational stories significantly shaped his outlook. "My father used to show me several biographies of disabled individuals like Helen Keller. I sought out similar books to read and became more and more confident," he recalled.

The generic disease also affected Zhang's late mother, but the mother's life experience taught him an important lesson. His mother, who used to be a high school teacher, had won the title of Shanghai Model Worker three times, a recognition that profoundly influenced Zhang's attitude towards life. "While the body may be afflicted by illnesses, the mind should be filled with sunshine," he emphasized.

Zhang's passion for history eventually led him to the idea of visiting revolutionary sites across the country. He embarked on this ambitious journey in 2017, accompanied by his supportive wife.

Every visit was recorded with a camera brought by Zhang, accumulating over 40,000 photos, among which he selected nearly 500 for a self-published book titled Forward.

Due to muscle weakness, sometimes he has to hold up the camera with his nose and uses his right middle finger, which still has a little strength, to press the shutter.

When asked "why not use a mobile phone or ask your wife for help", Zhang said that he likes the perspective through the viewfinder and believes that photography is a form of expression.

On World ALS Day in 2017 and 2018, Zhang donated his photography work and collections. The proceeds were used to care for ALS community. This year, he donated his collection of books to the Xujiahui Street Library.

"Life is too short. We need to broaden our horizons and enrich ourselves. Travel ten thousand miles and read ten thousand books," said Zhang.



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