“My name means Golden Courage. I gave myself this name.”
When Jin Yong’s mother became too ill to care for herself, the young girl quit school to care for her and her brother, both of whom were HIV-positive. An honor student, she assured her mother she would return to her studies when their health improved.
Soon after she left school, a neighbor approached Jin Yong about teaching in a preschool he had started for children affected by AIDS, the same disease that had claimed his own wife. At just 13, Jin Yong began teaching preschool.
Despite her youth, Jin Yong took her role seriously, showing maturity well beyond her years. But after class, she was a child again, playing games with her students.
“My biggest dream is to go to college one day and then to become a doctor. I will make it to college, some day, somehow,” Jin Yong, whose name in English means “Golden Courage,” told Dr. Lu the first time they met.
Dr. Lu’s next encounter with her was just one year later. “Courage,” now 14, was pale and very thin. She shared that, in that short time, she had lost her niece to AIDS and her sister-in-law, who took her own life. Her brother’s health had severely declined and he was suffering from advanced stages of AIDS.
When asked about her dream, Courage responded, “You mean going to college? Oh, I was a child back then. I don’t dream, anymore.”
It was at that point that Dr. Lu understood that this project was more than academic research. It was his calling. Hearing her story, he knew he had to get involved and help the children who had been impacted by AIDS, abuse, and poverty in central China.
This young girl inspired Golden Courage International and she was one of the first students to benefit from the Golden Courage One-on-One Help Program.
Three years later, Jin Yong was dreaming again. Her courageous spirit now gives hope to other children. During a recent phone call, she said, “Dr. Lu, you don’t need to help me anymore. I am fine now. I now want to help you bring hope to other children.”
Since then, Jin Yong has applied to and was accepted into college and is studying to become a nurse.