Disabled veteran grows to be a prosthesis craftsman

China Military Online
Huang Panyue
2022-12-01 18:38:06

Cheng Baojun, a prosthesis craftsman

On the eve of China’s Army Day on August 1, 2022, a special team came to the Shoushan Mountain in Xuchang City, Central China’s Henan Province. On the occasion of the 95th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), they expected to pay tribute to the Chinese military with a mountaineering campaign. What as striking as the golden team uniform was the artificial limbs of the team members exposed. The team had a resounding name, the Dream Team of Prosthesis in China.

Cheng Baojun, an ex-serviceman, was the head of the team.

Cheng Baojun, a native of Luohe City in Henan Province, joined the PLA in December 1995, participated in the flood fighting and rescue work in 1998, and has been a taxi driver and coach driver since his retirement.

In April 2011, he lost his legs in a car accident and survived after three operations. During his hospitalization period, Cheng Baojun installed the artificial limbs. 

The expensive artificial limbs were really exhausting on Cheng Baojun, so he removed them to see what the reason was and whether he could make some adjustments. 

With the mechanical knowledge acquired in the military, he found it was not as difficult as expected. And he even thought of doing it himself. He understood the fundamentals of the artificial limbs and also had clear idea about the role of each part in the knee joint.

"It is not easy to make artificial limbs. When I first started, it was commonplace to have my knees worn. And the most difficult thing was to make the knee joint," he recalled.

Speaking of the process of making an artificial limb, Cheng Baojun pointed to his artificial limb joint and said, "Although this is a small joint, there are more than 80 parts in it. Except for five small screws that can be easily obtained from the market, I drew and designed the others all on myself."

During more than 2,000 days and nights, countless attempts, modifications, verifications, and adjustments, Cheng Baojun's artificial limbs have been improved in four generations and finally obtained two national patents, helping more than 400 disabled people stand up.

"Now I am quite confident when going out with my family with my artificial limbs on. I have found the happy life back," Cheng Baojun said.

With the help of the local department of veteran affairs and the local disabled persons' federation, Cheng Baojun has been cooperating with several e-commerce enterprises to teach the disabled clients to learn to use the artificial limbs and stand up.  

Since its establishment in May 2018, the Dream Team of Prosthesis in China has expanded to have 378 members, among whom the youngest one was only 6 years old, and the oldest one is 85, an emulative veteran.

In 2018, the first stop that Cheng Baojun led his team to was the Badaling Great Wall. In 2019, he together with other six team members participated in the Trekking No Man's Land at Gobi Desert in Dunhuang, and accomplished the 108-km challenge in four days and three nights. In 2020, 21 members of the team completed the first stop of climbing the top five sacred mountains of China, reaching the peak of Mount Song. In 2022, several members of the team came to climb Shoushan Mountain.

“Where is your next stop?”

 "I am expecting to go to Mount Tai, at the foot of which I was once a soldier when I was young", said Chen Jianliang, a team member who has dreamt of going back to visit his troop.

"Keeping exercising and keeping fit. Let's conquer together," said Cheng Baojun to himself and to everyone in his team.


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