Banner-holding boy in Sichuan quake becomes medical student

Updated 2018-04-23 11:19:01

Children in quake-hit Qingchuan county hold banners reading "True hero", "Thank you for your efforts" and "I love you" to welcome rescue personnel on the way leading to the county in Sichuan May 16, 2008.

Ten years have gone by since the devastating earthquake in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, and a boy who held a banner to thank military personnel for help then has grown up and become a medical university student.

Xu Guang was a fifth-grade pupil at a school in Qingchuan county when the earthquake occurred at 2:28 p.m. on May 12, 2008. The quake left more than 80,000 people dead or missing.

Xu was lucky that his dormitory building did not collapse. The quake flattened his school, but teachers and students in his school were all safe and sound.

After seeing the scenes of devastation and sorrow on the internet, Xu was overwhelmed with sadness, and wanted to express his gratitude to the soldiers helping the victims there.

"Thank you for your efforts" Xu held a banner by the roadside. The photo soon moved a lot of people, and even made Xu an "internet celebrity" then.

Two months after the earthquake, Xu, together with other 130 students from the quake-hit areas, went to Dongguan, South China's Guangdong Province, to continue their studies for next seven months. He has viewed the city as his second home.

The experience of earthquake and help from lots of kindhearted people has deeply influenced Xu.

When Xu graduated from the Sichuan Jiangyou Middle School last summer, he finally chose to study medicine in college because medical workers in the earthquake left a deep impression.

"Doctors are ordinary, but they shoulder great responsibilities and make selfless dedication in their lives." He also said that his grandfather and father, both doctors, were supportive of the decision.

Xu's dream came true when a medical university in Changsha, Central China's Hunan Province, enrolled him last September.

Though he has been a university student for less than a year, now his plans for future are quite clear. He said he wants to continue to study in military medical university because of his strong feelings toward soldiers.

"If there is no opportunity for further study, I would like to be a grass-root medical worker," he said.

Recalling the last 10 years' experience, Xu said, "People walk in and out of my life, inevitably leaving some regrets." He added that he has learned a lot from it, and the most valuable lesson is that he knows exactly what he wants to be in future.

Last year, a woman in Dongguan who had helped him passed away. He has told himself to "be a kind person like her and try my best to help others" and "act responsibly like an adult in the face of difficulties and obstacles."

Her death was a great blow to Xu. "She gave it all to help us, but I did not even gave her a hug because of my shyness." Since then, every time when Xu parts with his family, he gives them a tight hug. "They know that hug is a way to express my love," he said.

One of Xu's teachers at high school described him as a "grateful person". He launched an appeal for donations when underground gas leak explosions occurred in Kaohsiung city, Taiwan, on August 1, 2014, killing 32. Touched by his love, 3375 yuan (9) was raised among his 60 fellow students.

"If it hadn't been the earthquake, I might still act like a little boy now." After the earthquake, he has been showered with love and kindness. "I also want to do something to contribute to society in return," Xu said.

In his friends' eyes, Xu was an optimistic, self-motivated and self-discipline person with positive energy. "He is like my big brother, I'll always respect him," his friend Yao Zizhao said.

"He is an innocent kid who laughs a lot, but sometimes I feel he is very mature, too," another friend of his said on Xu.

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