Ashley Wu

Bookmarks of Love

By Ashley Nicole Wu, 10 years old

As early as I could remember, my grandmother was always sick. When I was two years old, my grandmother was told by the doctors that she had a rare disease called the progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). This severe sickness turned my grandmother from an intelligent, curious and hardworking person into a someone that could not take care of herself or even walk on her own. We learned that PSP is a disease that will slowly affect a person’s brain. At first, one’s hand shakes and one’s body does not listen to what the brain wants it to do. But, after a few years, the person’s body stiffens and cannot even control its movement. The brain then becomes so infected that practically all memory is lost. Then, all the patient can do is to lie on a bed every day, such as my grandmother.

Ming Chi

My grandmother, Ming Chi, was a teacher, so she would always say that I am her top student. When I was 4, she taught me how to hold the pencil and write. When I was 6, she played a duet on the piano with me. But now, all she can do is to look at me while humming constantly and looking at a faraway place. I don’t think she even recognizes me anymore.

PSP is a very rare disease, out of 100,000 people, about only 6 people will have it. Even the doctor here in Taiwan does not know how or why my grandmother got this disease. So far, there is no medicine or cure for the sickness. When we first found out my grandma had this disease about 8 years ago, we knew nothing about it. So our family went on the internet and found this website named “CurePSP.” They are a foundation in the United States that helps people and their families that are sick with PSP. They gave us a lot of information, support and even mailed us brochures to give to the doctors in Taiwan. CurePSP really wants to help people with this illness.

Two of my favorite hobbies are crafts and reading. So I decided to combine the two hobbies to help donate to CurePSP. I will be making bookmarks by hand and selling them to people that want to help. I will spend time making them during the weekend and winter break. Every bookmark will cost NT50 (about $1.25) - I hope I can raise at least $100 US dollars. I know this may not be a lot of money and it may not make a big difference, but this project means a lot to me. Many people say that I look a lot like my grandmother and we also have a lot of characters in common. I really wish that I could do something for her. Even though it may be small, I wish I could make a difference. Grandma has always taught me to be kind - I know she would be proud of me.

Ming Chi and Grandkids