A young woman in China proves there really are no excuses when it comes to following your dreams. Despite growing up in a rural community in Anhui Province, eastern China, 21-year-old Hu Huiyuan has taught herself how to read and write using television subtitles, all the while living with cerebral palsy. Defying all odds, the creative writer has already written more than 60,000 words for her fiction novel with just the use of her left foot.

Huiyuan’s entire life has been about defying the odds, according to her dad Peng and mom Sun. “When she was born, the doctors said she wouldn't survive more than a few days, but she did. “They didn't know what was wrong with her at first, but 10 months later they told us it was cerebral palsy,” said Peng, the Daily Mail reported. “The only parts of her body she could move were her head and her foot, but she was incredibly determined.”

Patients with cerebral palsy experience partial muscle paralysis that is frequently accompanied by loss of sensation and uncontrollable body movements or tremors. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says this is caused by the damage to or abnormalities inside the developing brain that disrupt the brain’s ability to control movement and maintain posture and balance. However, Huiyuan’s limited body movement doesn’t get in the way of her learning.

“I teach myself. I'm so fascinated by the opportunities that being able to read presents. Being able to write allows me to communicate with so many more people. I'm not a genius but I'm very focused. When you have a disability like this, you have to learn patience,” Huiyuan said.

Huiyuan isn’t the only cerebral palsy patient to have fulfilled her dream. Wang Qiang, a 29-year-old man with cerebral palsy joined a professional boxing competition when he signed up in the eastern city of Shanghai. Qiang was able to master some basic boxing skills with the help of his dad who clutched his arm and held his legs to help him finish the basic training. He was able to join the boxing competition and complete his first-ever professional boxing game, Shanghaiist reported.

These two individuals prove the power of tenacity when it comes to fulfilling your dreams.