A Teen Called “Folded Boy” Due to Rare Condition is Step Closer to Standing Up Straight Again After Risky Surgery

5 months ago

In the vibrant metropolis of Beijing, Jiang Yanchen, a determined 19-year-old university student, is on a brave quest to reclaim the ability to stand upright. Fondly nicknamed the “folded boy” because of his struggle with Ankylosing Spondylitis, an autoimmune disease, Jiang’s resilience in the midst of challenges serves as an inspiring tribute to the indomitable human spirit.

The battle with Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis, a type of arthritis, initiates inflammation in the joints and ligaments of the spine, causing the gradual fusion of bones. For Jiang, this condition manifested in a hunched posture, compelling him into a horizontal position.

According to media reports, the last instance he stood upright dates back a decade, and with the progression of the disease, his neck gradually arched backward until his head touched his back.

Navigating life with constraints

Jiang’s odyssey commenced with a rare and incapacitating condition that contorted his upper body into a Z-shape, with his head and buttocks mere inches apart. Standing at a height of just 1 meter, he depends on a wheelchair for mobility. Since his primary school years, he has had to kneel on a chair to read and write.

Nevertheless, fueled by an indomitable spirit and unwavering determination, Jiang took his high school entrance exam while lying on a yoga mat. This remarkable accomplishment resulted in his admission to Dezhou University, underscoring his resilience in the pursuit of education despite formidable physical obstacles.

Despite grappling with physical pain and confronting daily challenges, he persists in making the most of his life. In a video interview with People’s Daily, he candidly shared the difficulties he encounters, noting that initially, his knees would ache a bit, but over the years, they have become numb.

Embarking on a path of transformation

Jiang’s narrative underwent a positive shift in May 2023 when he was introduced to Dr. Wang Yu, the Chief Physician at the Department of Orthopedics at Peking University Hospital. Following meticulous evaluation and collaboration with experts from diverse fields, a intricate and high-risk surgical plan was formulated.

In this same month, Jiang left his hometown in Shandong province to undergo his first surgery. His mother, offering words of encouragement, told him that he wouldn’t need wheelchairs anymore after the surgery. The first procedure successfully restored his neck to its normal position, offering a glimmer of hope in his pursuit of an upright posture.

The second surgery, on August 15, presented its own challenges, including the potential for heart failure, but it marked an important milestone in Jiang’s recovery. From a 180-degree backward fold, Jiang’s condition improved to a 90-degree position after the surgeries. This transformation allowed him to sit and interact with others, signifying a substantial improvement in his overall quality of life.

A beacon of hope

Jiang’s discharge from the hospital signifies a noteworthy milestone, yet there are still more chapters awaiting revelation in his extraordinary journey. Future operations are in the works to rectify the remaining 90-degree fold, with the ultimate goal of restoring his ability to stand tall once again.

Observing his 19th birthday within the hospital confines, Jiang conveyed optimism and a preparedness to confront life’s challenges. Infusing humor into the situation, he commented on the newfound ability to see people within his line of sight. Meanwhile, his mother, contemplating the momentous occasion, recognized it as a symbol of a new beginning for her son.

Don’t miss the incredible story of “The Tree Man”, an individual with a unique condition. After undergoing multiple surgeries, he was finally able to hold his daughter.


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