Ningbo, a beautiful city in the east coast of China was blessed with a baby girl in the 1930s. Despite the chaos China was going through during this time, this girl, who was named Tu Youyou, got lucky to be born in a family who gave education immense importance.
Her parents worked really hard to make sure that she got the best education available in the city and make the career she was passionate about. But life cannot be completed without bumps, and soon Tu Youyou was hit with a bump as well.
She contracted tuberculosis at the age of 16 which made her take a break of two years from schooling. But as they say, hard times could be truly inspiring and that is exactly what happened to Tu Youyou.
Her illness inspired her to do medical research to ensure that she herself and others around her stayed healthy.
Her inspiration and vision that ‘Every scientist dreams of doing something to change the world’ came true when she landed a job under the China Ministry of Health.
She had several responsibilities during this time, from becoming Head of Chemistry Department to becoming a chief professor of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences. Here, she worked on making vaccines and medicines for different illnesses around the world.
As a young scientist, she faced a lot of pressures and challenges. On one side, she had responsibilities at work and on the other side, she had to be the best mom for her kids.
At one point, she had to leave her younger daughter with her grandparents, while Tu Youyou completely focused on her research. By the time she reunited with her daughter, her daughter couldn’t even
recognize her for a few days.
All her efforts of converting Chinese medical texts to find a cure for malaria, which has saved millions of people since years, paid off.
Today, Tu Youyou lives in Beijing and is known as a “tough and stubborn woman” who is stubborn enough to spend decades in scientific research that saved millions of lives.