from the Korean Army to being published

the blog of an "ex-patriot" writer in Korea

Posts Tagged ‘help jyoung-ah kim fight desmoid

Help Jyoung-Ah Fight Desmoid

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I’m not an activist in any sense. I assume that a requisite for being an activist is to be active. I feel very strongly about things, but that’s about it. I’d like to argue my inactivity is due to a personality defect rather than indifference, but it’s most probably an ungodly mixture of the two. That being said, I’m devoting this post not to informing you of my progress with the book (or lack thereof) but to appeal to whoever happens upon this blog on behalf of my friend, Jyoung-Ah.

I first met Jyoung-Ah in 2003, my first year in Korea. I’ve known her almost 12 years now, and although I don’t see her as often as I used to, she has always been there for me.

She was there for me when I found out I had to go to the Korean Army. She took me out every week and aided me in my quest for oblivion and forgetfulness in the form of shots of 151. A majority of those nights involved me spewing the entire contents of my stomach all over Seoul, once in a pot of food she was offering me in her then-boyfriend’s kitchen. Every night, she was there, patting my back as I hugged the porcelain, and every week, she was there, willing to go through it all again.

She was there when I came out for my first furlough, 100 days in, and she was one of the few people to visit me during my two years, once taking the trek to Daegu while I was a lowly private and once to Ansan, where I was training for my deployment to Afghanistan. The day after I was discharged, I was kicked out of the place I was staying and she let me sleep on her couch until I left for America. And when I came back from America, she again let me sleep on her couch until I could find a place of my own near school.

After I went to grad school, we drifted apart. It was my fault. I’m not a very good friend. I’ve never been good at keeping in touch with my friends. I’m quiet and sedentary and I prefer to keep to myself. But I’d like to believe that my relationships with my friends don’t hinge on frequency, that we can pick up where we left off regardless of how much time has passed. And it’s true with Jyoung-Ah. While I was laid out in the hospital because of the accident, she came to visit me when she could, she came to visit even though she was dealing with her own shit. She had had surgery to remove a strange tumor around her shoulder and was having minor surgeries in between visits.

Unfortunately, the tumor has recurred and has been identified as a desmoid tumor, something that only affects two to four people out of a million people. It is incurable. She is planning to return to Texas for treatment, but because of her extended stay in Korea, she is ineligible for medical benefits from the government.

Now she is in need of help, and this is the only way I know how to be there for her. If even just one of you can find it in your heart to donate even a few dollars to support her treatment, I’d be grateful. You can learn more about Jyoung-Ah and her disease as well as how to donate at https://helpjakfightdesmoid.com/.

[Edit] For those of you in the US: Happy Thanksgiving. I celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday by eating two Whoppers. I’ll be having Thanksgiving dinner with my family on Sunday, though. Thankfully, there are places in Itaewon that offer turkey dinners for Thanksgiving.

For those of you in Korea: If you don’t feel like donating money without any return but you do enjoy alcohol, there will be a fundraiser for Jyoung-ah at Divine in Itaewon tomorrow (Saturday, November 29th). The doors open at 7 and there will be live performances and DJs later in the night. Part of the receipts will go to Jyoung-ah.

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Written by Young

November 26, 2014 at 10:00 pm