Writing a novel can be a challenge for anyone, but for one Chinese woman, it seemed impossible due to her crippling cerebral palsy.

But 21-year-old Hu Huiyan did just that, writing a 60,000 word work of fiction using only her toes, reported Central European News (CEN). Hu is only able to properly control her left foot.

Hu defied the odds of not only her disability, but her upbringing. She grew up in a rural community in Anhui province in eastern China, where even able-bodied children struggle to get a formal education. Hu was so determined that she taught herself to read and write using television subtitles.

According to her father, Peng, when Hu was born doctors told them she only had a few days to live. Ten months later, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

"About the only thing she could really move was her head and her foot, but she was incredibly determined," Peng, 49, told CEN. "She eventually learned to do all sorts of everyday tasks using just her foot."

Hu told local TV that she's fascinated by the opportunities being able to read and write present and that the skills allow her to communicate.

"I'm not a genius but I'm very focused," she told local TV. "When you have a disability like this, you have to learn patience."

Hu's mother, Sun, said her daughter's determination began when she was a small child and learning to speak was much slower for the other children. Hu would repeat words as many as 1,000 times until she could manage it.

"Typing with just your foot doesn't come easy for anyone either," Sun, 47, told CEN. "While she's typing, Hu needs to be fastened to her wheelchair with a belt to stabilize her."

Hu is able to type 20 to 30 words a minute and has completed six chapters of her eight chapter book.

Despite the lack of facilities for disabled people in China, Hu is not the only example of a disabled person overcoming the odds. In September 2014, a 29-year-old man diagnosed with cerebral palsy joined a professional boxing competition in Shanghai.