You may be wondering why the girl in the green shirt appears to be glaring at the camera. Perhaps you may be thinking she is merely annoyed at the other girl strapped around her neck. Without having read the story behind this picture, I would have thought so as well.
But that expression on 13-year-old He Qin-Jiao’s face isn’t a result of some sort of sister feud — in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The look is of determination to carry her polio-crippled classmate, He Ying-Hui, to school everyday — for three years.
According to the Mayo Clinic, polio (short for poliomyelitis) is a contagious, viral disease that is transmitted orally. Its symptoms can include anything as minor as a sore throat or back pain, or as severe as paralysis. In this case, He Ying-Hui’s polio was in fact paralytic, to the point where she could not walk due to muscle weakness.
In the fall of last year, Ying-Hui was finally granted a wheelchair from the local government, but her friendship with Qin-Jiao didn’t end there. In fact, Qin-Jiao woke up every single day at 6 am so that she could rush to Ying-Hui’s house to push her in her wheelchair, all the way to school. Once they reached school, Qin-Jiao would then carry Ying-Hui on her back to the second floor, where the girls’ classroom is located.
Of her friend’s unwavering dedication, Ying-Hui wrote in her exercise writing book, “He Qin-jiao uses her little young shoulders to prop up my sky.”