My name is Vith Ing. I was born in Cambodia in the Killing Field era under the Pol Pot regime. Pol Pot and a group of rebels wanted the country to start from year zero. During their time in power many educated citizens of Cambodia were killed. My parents were forced to do intense labor in the rice fields from sunrise to sunset with very little to eat. Fortunately, my parents managed to escape to Thailand.
My family fled to the Thai border to take refuge. The refugee camp had unclean drinking water and overpopulated living space. At the age of five in 1981, I came down with Pott’s Disease, a rare form of Tuberculosis to the spinal cord. I didn’t know what the cause of my injury was until I came to the United States in 1986, when doctor did a spinal tap. I suffered a T4 incomplete. I can feel hot, cold and sometimes pain in my legs but I cannot walk.
The first few years were very difficult. I didn’t understand how to deal with my body function. At times I got very frustrated, especially when I had bladder accidents. I have now learned the function of my body through therapy. I have managed to adapt. Wow, come to think of it, it has been over thirty-three years since my injury.