CHINA 55-year-old village teacher battles cancer


55-year-old village teacher battles cancer

By Liu Jingshan | People's Daily app

14:43, March 30, 2019

Zhao Shengcai, a 55 year-old teacher diagnosed with prostate cancer and adrenal tumor six years ago, gives a math class at a primary school located in northwestern Qinghai Province’s Datong County. Zhao started his career as a village teacher in 1983 when his father told him that he must practice his profession with conscience and spare no effort in teaching children in the rural area. These words have always been a source of motivation for his 36 years of teaching, Zhao said.

Unfortunately, Zhao was diagnosed with prostate cancer and an adrenal tumor in October,2013 after he experienced sudden weight loss, abnormal drop-off of hair and acute pain in his waist. After a surgery for prostate cancer, he now has to get up at 4 am every day to take his chemotherapy drugs for his adrenal tumor.

Ignoring advice from his family and his colleagues, Zhao insisted on going back to work once he was stable. “The smiling faces of my students always ease my pain, making me forget that I am a cancer patient,” Zhao said, adding that he would rather return to work than wait for life to pass at home.

Once he passed out at school and a doctor suggested he take some time off work. Worrying that his students would fail to catch up, he went back to teaching soon after he felt he was better. However, he has to lean on his desk from time to time because the operation and medicines had the side effects of breathing problems and swollen legs. When stabbing pain strikes his waist in class, he will kneel on a seat and continue teaching.

Zhao Shengcai tutors students in mathematics during a break on March 25. A student surnamed Li, who feels grateful for Zhao, said Zhao teaches mathematics in an interesting way and he came to like the subject under Zhao’s influence.

Being a teacher is not only imparting knowledge to students but also having great influence on the future of students and families. Zhao Shengcai said, “All I hope is that my students can have a promising future.” (Photos:

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