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Zhang Bangyuan trims branches to make a walking stick out of it, in Anhui, Feb 16. [Photo/CFP]

A 74-year-old man in Anhui province, in despair after losing two sons, picked up his

son's favorite hobby and is helping thousands of people through it.

Zhang Bangyuan from the provincial capital of Hefei city is a retired doctor, and used to have a happy family with two sons and three daughters. In 2000 his 31-year-old older son died at work, and unfortunately eight years later, he lost his younger son too. Realizing to be strong and positive is the only way to continue with life, Zhang decided to pick up his younger son's hobby, root carving, as a way to remember him, and to keep his mind busy.

At first, he picked up some branches randomly, and carved several walking sticks out of them. He gave them away to several old friends, who talked him out of the despair of losing his sons. But he was surprised to find how happy they are to receive this well made and useful gift.

Then Zhang learned about how to train tree roots into certain shapes while they grow. He thus cultivated many small trees that naturally look like walking sticks. To make them a more meaningful gift, he carved phrases on them, like "wish you happiness", "health", or "luck."

As of now, Zhang has made thousands of walking sticks. He gave away some of them to the elderly in nearby nursing houses, and the rest are in his house waiting to be trimmed and processed.