On June 6, an 11-year-old Australian girl with cerebral palsy realized her dream of climbing on to the Great Wall with her family in Beijing.
An 11-year-old Australian girl diagnosed with cerebral palsy Tuesday realized her dream of climbing the Great Wall, accompanied by her family and volunteers.
After conquering Australia's highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko, in 2015, Taylor Walker-Lear's next challenge was to walk on China's Great Wall. Inspired by her willpower, a Chinese entrepreneur sponsored the family's trip to Beijing.
Walker-Lear was born with cerebral palsy spastic diplegia, although the condition was not diagnosed until she had trouble standing and walking by herself when she was two years old.
In September last year, she underwent multi-level surgery involving four separate procedures to her hips, hamstrings, achilles and feet, included a bone graft into her feet, followed by months of physiotherapy.
On Tuesday morning, she arrived at the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall just outside Beijing. As she started her climb, drizzle began to fall and she admitted feeling excited, confident and a little nervous.
Using a walker and with help from her parents, Walker-Lear firstly walked on a flat section of the wall, then went up and down some steps and through watch towers. The climb lasted more than an hour.
The Great Wall administration presented Walker-Lear a certificate containing a Chinese quote from a poem by Mao Zedong, which translates as "one who fails to reach the Great Wall is not a hero," meaning one must overcome difficulties to reach their goal.
"I'm really tired, but I'm proud," she said, adding that the Great Wall was more impressive than she had imagined it would be.
At six years old, while watching the 2012 London Paralympics, Walker-Lear found a role model in Australian swimmer Jacqueline Freney, who also has cerebral palsy and won eight gold medals at the games.
She is now focused on swimming training and her long-term goal is to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, according to her mother.