Sun Xiaoyu, 18, poses in front of Harbin Vocational and Technical College in Heilongjiang province.
Earlier this month, Sun Xiaoyu began a new chapter in his life in Harbin Vocational and Technical College in Heilongjiang province.
What makes this 18-year-old freshman different from his classmates is that he will continue to take care of his grandmother and cousin while in college.
"Since the 70s, a total of seven members of my family died of Huntington's disease, including my father-in-law, my husband, my three children, my grandson and my husband's sister," said HuaXianzhen, Sun's grandmother. "My grandson has become the backbone of my family with only three of us left."
Huntington's disease is a kind of genetic disorder caused by aggregating proteins inside brain neurons that ultimately lead to motor dysfunction, personality changes, depression and dementia.
There is no known cure. Although the patient may have a long life, many die in their forties. Fortunately, Sun does not have the disease.
After he was accepted by the college, Sun decided to take his grandmother and cousin with him.
"Sun was spotted by a teacher who was welcoming the new arrivals because he looked sad while the other students happy," said Hu Yanwei, deputy chief of the college.
At that time, Sun was deeply worried about money. The cash he had borrowed was only enough to cover his tuition fee and there was little left for him to rent a room.
"After we spoke with Sun, we decided to provide him a tuition waiver and a subsidy of 300 yuan per month," said Hu. "Furthermore, we arranged two beds in female dormitory for his two relatives."
"I'm the only person they can rely on, so I have to be strong and brave," said Sun. "I will try my best to study hard and learn more skills, which may help me give them better care in the future."