Cancer can be a life-changing experience for anyone. For Dong Liaoyu, a 52-year-old civil servant in Zhejiang province, the news of the disease was devastating.
But instead of giving up all hope, he took it as a challenge to blaze a new life.
Dong has spent past 12 years fighting cancer since he was 40, but at the same time he has turned his childhood dream a reality—passing the undergraduate law examination and obtaining a master's degree from Zhejiang University.
He was diagnosed with kidney cancer with less than 30 percent chance of surviving the next five years during a medical examination in 2005. The diagnoses came as a great shock.
"When standing alone in the hospital late at night, thinking of my aged parents, my wife and little girl, thinking that I was about to leave them and the world, I couldn't stop the tears," said Dong.
Cancer, however, did not defeat him. Instead, Dong was inspired to fight it, banking on medical treatment and positive energy to increase his survival chances. He began pursuing his childhood dream--to become a lawyer.
It's not easy to pass the law exam, and it's even harder for someone with ongoing cancer treatment. But Dong held on to his dream. "There is not enough time left for me, so I have to fulfill my dream in whatever limited time I have."
With such determination and hard work, Dong passed the exam in 2012. Since then, great changes have happened to his life.
Elected the people's juror, Dong exercises his role in judgment and supervision to promote grassroots rule of law. Meanwhile, as civil servant, he protects the rights and interests of the taxpayers and raises people's consciousness of taxpaying. In his spare time, he serves as a legal consultant at the cancer recovery club to protect the patients' rights.
Over the years, Dong's health has improved and the disease has been under control. Dong, however, made another unexpected choice--to undertake the master's course in laws at Zhejiang University.
Dong said he felt like an "alien" among young candidates when he was interviewed for his post-graduate course. He was the oldest one to take the exam that year.
In 2017, the 52-year-old cancer survivor received his master's degree.