Li has an autoimmune disease called ankylosing spondylitis that started when he was 18. It can cause bones to fuse, making the spine curve forward. His condition worsened over time until he was completely bent over, with three parts of his body “connected” – his chin to his chest, his breastbone to his pubic bone, and his face to his thighs.
Eventually it got so bad that he could no longer straighten his body, he could not raise his head, and he could not lie down flat. Li relied on his mother for round-the-clock care.
Everything changed after he underwent four complicated operations at Shenzhen University General Hospital – the first time this surgery has been done successfully in China.
Li now has 20 pins in his body and cannot move his neck, and still needs his mother’s help to lie down and get out of bed, to dress and go to the toilet.
“Now I can walk slowly with the walking frame … I can hold a bowl and eat like anyone else, sitting at the table. I’m happy – I have hope”
But he says his situation has improved dramatically, after he had pretty much given up on being able to stand straight again. South China Morning Post.