Author Featured in Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Connection in Article by Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Journalist Tom Hallman
Dr. Shirley Cheng (b. 1983), a blind and physically disabled award-winning author (with twenty-seven book awards, including nine Parent to Parent Adding Wisdom Awards and Mom's Choice Awards), Summa Cum Laude graduate with Doctor of Divinity, motivational speaker, self-empowerment expert, poet, and author of nine books and contributor to twenty-two, has had severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since infancy. Owing to years of hospitalization between America and China, she received no education until age eleven. Back then, she knew very little English, and her knowledge on other subjects was non-existent, so she was placed in a special education class in elementary school. However, she mastered grade level in all areas after only about 180 days of attendance, and immediately entered regular sixth grade in middle school.
Cheng has a voracious appetite for books, reading an average of six hundred pages daily, and has read over a total of two thousand books. Since sixth grade, she has received 100 on every NYS essay test, and stayed at the top of the class ever since. She was awarded for achieving the highest grade of 97 in Earth science in her eighth grade class. She was the Student of the Year and the Student of the Month, as well as a three-time winner of the National Reflections Program in visual arts. One of her short stories, Mary Miller, the Elusive Lady, received Honorable Mention and was published by the Poughkeepsie Journal in 1997, and her poem, The Colors of the Rainbow, earned merit status and was published in Celebrate! New York Young Poets Speak Out in 1999.
Cheng was a contributor to her high school newspaper, providing artwork in tenth grade. She received a standing ovation when she delivered a speech as a candidate for student body vice president in ninth grade.
When her eyesight began to deteriorate at the beginning of tenth grade, she had to use two magnifying glasses, holding one on top of the other, on enlarged print to do her work throughout the year, including the artwork she provided for the school newspaper. In classes, she learned only by listening to her teachers, even with chemistry and math; still she maintained excellent grades.
Unfortunately, Cheng completely lost her eyesight, but never her vision, in April of tenth grade. She then received home tutoring, and successfully completed all her schoolwork by using cassette tapes and tape recorders. She wrote and calculated long chemistry formulas and equations without vision or Braille. Her high school overall average was 97 (a 3.9 GPA without any advanced placement classes). But Cheng could not accumulate enough credits to receive a high school diploma from her school due to the loss of her eyesight. In 2002, she received her high school equivalency diploma. She took the entire GED test, including mathematical calculations and problem solving, graphs, and an essay, in her head without Braille; yet she scored an exceptional 3280 on the exam, earning her a special recognition award.
Cheng became an author at age twenty, completing three books within one year. She wrote her books using a screen reader on her computer, typing with only her two index fingers at the speed of about 60-65 words per minute. She also successfully completed every step of book production, from formatting her manuscripts to designing and maintaining her Web site, www.ShirleyCheng.com, on her own.
Cheng has extraordinary goals with the aspiration of attending college at Harvard University, where she plans to earn doctorates in microbiology, zoology, astronomy, physiology, and pathology, after a successful eye surgery.
Cheng's books include seven-award winner Do You Love Jehovah? God Almighty's Infinite Love & Wisdom to Propel You to Greatness (ISBN: 9780578000794); The Revelation of a Star's Endless Shine: A Young Woman's Autobiography of 20-Year Victories over Victimization (foreword by New York Times best seller Cynthia Brian) (ISBN: 9780615150444); eight-award winner Waking Spirit: Prose & Poems the Spirit Sings (foreword by Cynthia Brian) (9780615136806); and twelve-award winner Embrace Ultra-Ability! Wisdom, Insight & Motivation from the Blind Who Sees Far and Wide (9780615155227).
With highly acclaimed experts, including Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins, and Jack Canfield, Cheng co-authored Wake Up
Live the Life You Love: Finding Life's Passion and 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life.
Visit Shirley at www.ShirleyCheng.com