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`Moon flower' ALS patient wins Flora Expo literature contest

2011/01/16 20:48:06

Taipei, Jan. 16 (CNA) A woman suffering from amyotrophic lateralsclerosis (ALS) won first prize Sunday in a literature competitionheld by the Taipei International Flora Exposition, for describing herlife as the short-lived but glamorous night-blooming cereus, or moonflower.

Lin Yueh-ku, who has been suffering from ALS -- better-known asLou Gehrig's disease -- for 13 years, using her middle finger toclick a mouse, spelled out the words and composed the 2,000-wordpiece titled "Life of the Night-Blooming Cereus -- the TransientBeauty" that stood out among the 201 submitted works.

Able to type only 50 words per hour, the 54-year-old spent amonth depicting scenes from her life.

Just as she was about to discard two night-blooming cereuses asthey were past their prime, Lin wrote, she happened to see theflowers blooming again one night when she was in a self-pitying mood.

"The beauty was so overwhelming that it struck me," she wrote.

Learning that it takes at least two years for the huge whiteflowers to grow, Lin said that in their persistence, she saw herself.

"They spend their whole lives just for a moment of glory, " shetold reporters.

The Expo's general producer, Ting See-you, said he was deeplytouched by Lin's story and marveled at the flowers that give peoplestrength.

"Just one single flower can tell so much about life, " Lin said."This is truly the `power of beauty.'"

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)