Girl, 6, takes care of paralyzed father

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Six-year-old Tian Jia has looked after her father for nearly two years, after he was left paralyzed in a car accident.

Six-year-old Tian Jia helps her father get out of bed and into his wheelchair. [File Photo: Xinhua]

She gets up every day at 6 a.m. to help her father get out of bed and into his wheelchair. She then washes his face and helps him eat, before going to school.

After Tian Haicheng from Gaotai Village, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, became paralyzed from the chest down in the car accident in 2016, his wife left with their elder son. His little daughter has since become Tian Haicheng's "little Miss sunshine."

"If it were not FOR her, I would have died already," said Tian Haicheng, adding that when the accident happened he was 37 and his daughter only 3.

"My parents are farmers and my kid is too young, I do not want to become a burden for them so I actually wanted to end my life," Tian Haicheng said. "One day I was left along with Tian Jia in the courtyard, and I asked her to move the wheelchair a little so that I could fall down on the ground, but she supported me using her tiny little arms and shouted 'dad you can't die.' I then cried like crazy and determined that I have to live on."

Every day, Tian Jia uses a home-made hoist to lift her father out of bed onto the wheelchair, and because of her tiny figure she has to go up and down the bed and wheelchair several times to adjust the direction. But she says she never tires.

After she settles her father in, Tian Jia puts his coat on, washes his face and sometimes helps him shave.

"Before I was paralyzed, she was the treasure of the family, always asking me to hold her on our way to buy candies," said Tian Haicheng. "I feel she has grown up suddenly, she now never asks for anything from me and instead brings me things for me from school, including the boiled egg they have for breakfast."

The accident indebted Tian's family, and besides government subsidies the remaining expenses come from Tian's parents who are now nearly 70. Tian Haicheng's mother sometimes looks after him, while Tian Jia learns. "No one teaches her, and she learns all by herself," Tian Haicheng said.

Tian Haicheng's mother Ma Yingxiu said: "When I looked after her dad, she would come watch and help. One day I got up and saw her dressing her father up alone."

Tian Jia is a fast learner, and also comes up with good ideas. "One time she suggested tying a spoon to my hand so that I can eat by myself, and I did it," Tian Haicheng said. "I can't imagine a life without her now."

Tian Jia is the apple of her father's eye, and the family is once again filled with laughter as Tian Haicheng has begun positively engaging in his rehabilitation training.

Besides, he's now live-streaming video of his life on social media, where he has nearly 1 million followers, in a bid to get financial support from viewers.

Their story has moved hearts of millions on the live-streaming app, Kuaishou, and support has flooded in. "Uncles and aunties sent me pretty dresses, pencils and school bags," Tian Jia said, with a big smile on her face.

"The best moment every day is walking Tian Jia to school, I wait for her outside and talk with other parents," Tian Haicheng said.

The rugged mountain road to school is never easy, especially for Tian Haicheng's electric wheelchair, but with the company of Tian Jia, the journey is joyous.

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