TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A community leader from Minzuli in Hualien City went on a 17 day journey across Taiwan carrying the statues of several Taoist gods half of Taiwan to thank them for curing his mother of stage four cancer, reported Liberty Times.
Chang Tung-yao (張東耀), 30, on March 28 set out on his journey from Hualien, and despite blisters he carried on, drawing words of encouragement from many people along the way. Yesterday (April 15), Chang finally reached his objective, Xingang Fengtian Temple (新港奉天宮) in Chiayi County, where he was met by the temple's chairman Ho Ta-huang (何達煌) and county council member Yeh Meng-lung (葉孟龍), thus completing a 17-day, 600-kilometer trek which touched the hearts of many.
Chang (center in blue) carries sedan. (Photo from Facebook page @hsinkangmazu)
Chang, who is the vice president of the Lanyang Tiger God Society (蘭陽金虎爺會) in northeastern Taiwan's Hualien City, gave thanks for the miraculous recovery of his mother from cancer by heading south last month on journey on foot across Taiwan carrying statues of Matsu (媽祖), the Tiger God (金虎爺), Wangye (王爺), the Third Prince (三太子, Santaizi) on his back. In the process, he traveled throughout half of Taiwan before finally reaching his destination in southwestern Taiwan's Chiayi County.
Last year, Chang said that the gods told him that his mother would suffer a great misfortune and so he made a wish that if his mother suffered such a misfortune, he would carry a statue of Matsu around northern Taiwan down to Chiayi to pray that she could overcome this hardship. He believed that if he completed this journey, his wish would be granted.
Chang (Center, blue) stopping to kneel and pray. (Photo from Facebook page @hsinkangmazu)
In December, his mother suddenly found herself unable able to walk because of severe back pain. Medication did not ease the pain and she started fainting. An examination at the hospital found that an infection had formed in her spine and it had spread to her lungs, which led to septic shock and she had to be placed in the intensive care unit.
Doctors diagnosed her with stage-four nasopharyngeal cancer and lymphoma and it was then that Chang realized that the misfortune was a life-threatening illness, reported EBC. Miraculously, the treatment provided by doctors was effective and after 45 days in the hospital, she was released to return home, having gone into remission.
Chang (Center) prays with incense at Temple. (Photo from Facebook page @hsinkangmazu)
To thank the gods for granting his wish, Chang on March 28 set out with a 10 kilogram sedan on his back carrying Matsu, Tiger God, Wang Ye, Third Prince, Qianliyan (千里眼) and Shunfeng'er (順風耳), and was undeterred with bouts with blisters and knee pain along the way.
Chang said that throughout the 17 days of his journey, he was helped by friends who walked with him along the way and he received much help in the form of food, drink and words of encouragement from onlookers. He said that at one point an elderly man on a scooter looked at him several times and eventually handed him NT$3,000 (US$101) and said "Use this to buy cool water young man," greatly moving Chang.
Chang said he estimates that he was handed around 20 red envelopes along the way for a total value of NT$30,000 - NT$40,000, which he said would be donated to a charity for the disadvantaged.