Meet Qian Hongyan, the 18-year-old girl from China that may seem like your average teenager, but has a pretty unique backstory.
Qian lost both her legs when she was still four years old, in a tragic car accident in 2000. Since her poor family lived in the rural area of Luliang county, southwestern China’s Yunnan province, with no easy access to prosthetic legs, her family had no other option but to improvise.
Qian learned to walk on her hands with 2 pieces of wood that serve as her shoes and stands using a basketball, cut in half to steady herself. By that, she was then dubbed as, “basketball girl” by locals.
In 2005, after attention in the Chinese press, Qian traveled to Beijing to receive free artificial limbs at the China Rehabilitation Research Center, a center that has been providing help to the disabled in China for over 20 years.
At first, she found it difficult.
I had to give much more than other kids when I learned to swim. It seemed there was no way I could float in the water. I was choked,” said Qian.
When she turned 18, Qian returned to the China Rehabilitation Research Center in Beijing, ready for her adult prosthetics.