Thursday, January 11, 2007

Modern Day Helen Keller Receives Honorable Mention in National Writing Contest for Empowering Essay

Shirley Cheng, a blind and physically disabled 23-year-old author, has received Honorable Mention in the 3rd Annual Be the Star You Are!™ Writing Contest for her essay, I Hold the Power, her inspirational story of overcoming blindness at the age of seventeen. She was tied for 1st place in the same contest last year.

"I am absolutely honored and thrilled," says Shirley. "I hadn't expected to literally be a winner twice in a row. It is so important to get my story out to empower others to live their life to the very fullest. Receiving Honorable Mention has definitely helped me fulfill my goal of inspiring people to go for their gold medals in life, whether they are disabled or non-disabled."

Shirley Cheng (b. 1983), a blind and physically disabled motivational speaker, poet, self-empowerment expert, and author and contributing author of ten books, has had severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since only eleven months old. Owing to years of hospitalization, she received no schooling until age eleven. Having mastered grade level in all areas after only about 180 days of special education in elementary school, she entered a regular sixth grade class in middle school. Unfortunately, Shirley lost her eyesight at the age of seventeen. After a successful eye surgery, she hopes to earn multiple science doctorates from Harvard University.

Shirley is the author of "Waking Spirit: Prose & Poems the Spirit Sings" (ISBN: 978-0-6151-3680-6), exploring a world of dancing hearts, singing spirits, with infinite love from life (with foreword by New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Brian); "Daring Quests of Mystics" (ISBN: 978-1-4116-5664-2), a soothing read to relax the mind, body, and spirit; an empowering 700-page autobiography, "The Revelation of a Star's Endless Shine: A Young Woman's Autobiography of a 20-Year Tale of Trials and Tribulations" (ISBN: 978-1-4116-1860-2); and "Dance with Your Heart: Tales and Poems That the Heart Tells" (ISBN: 978-1-4116-1858-9), an anthology of inspirational and fantasy short stories (fairy tales, fables, and myths) and poems for the heart from the heart.

With highly acclaimed experts like Dr. Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins, and Brian Tracy, Shirley co-authored Wake Up...Live the Life You Love: Finding Your Life's Passion, Second Edition, the latest installment in the bestselling Wake Up...Live the Life You Love series; she is also the co-author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life, Volume 2, along with leading experts Jack Canfield, John Gray, Richard Carlson, Alan Cohen, Bob Proctor, et al.

Shirley is also an advocate of parental rights in children's medical care, students with special needs, and people with disabilities, and has the vision of a better America for both parents and children. She is a victim and miracle survivor of not only her painful disease but more so of serious faults in American medical system, including two custody cases her mother, Juliet Cheng, had battled and won after disagreeing with doctors' recommended treatments, one of which lasted for five months in 1990 in Connecticut that made international headlines on major media, like The New York Times and The Associated Press, and gained the support of Katharine Hepburn and Taiwan's former first lady. Juliet and her lawyer, George Athanson-a former mayor of Hartford, Connecticut, for eleven years-appeared on CBS This Morning with Paula Zahn. Shirley is also the victim of abusive behavior and mistreatment from one-to-one aides for years while attending public schools. Using her new voice as an adult, Shirley now fights to protect today's parents and children and the future of America. She hopes to bring awareness to the public with her 700-page autobiography, The Revelation of a Star's Endless Shine: A Young Woman's Autobiography of a 20-Year Tale of Trials & Tribulations.

She had been published twice before her writing career. One of her short stories, Mary Miller, the Elusive Lady, received Honorable Mention and was published by the Poughkeepsie Journal in 1997, and a poem, The Colors of the Rainbow, earned merit status and was published in Celebrate! New York Young Poets Speak Out in 1999.

Shirley is available for interviews, speaking engagements, book signings, and inspirational events. She has been on over twenty radio shows, including Be the Star You Are! for three times, The Donna Seebo Show, and Stu Taylor on Business. She was featured in World Journal, the largest Chinese national newspaper in North America, in July of 2004. Visit Shirley at

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