Friday, April 26, 2013

Fundraising for seriously ill foreign teacher in Gwangju

The Korea Herald reported on this earlier this week:
Expats have rallied to save a teacher who was severely ill and in need of blood donations and funds.

Gwangju-based teacher Sarah Graydon needed B-negative blood to help treat her ulcerative colitis ― a problem with the large intestine ― which had been complicated by blood clotting.[...]

Sean McGrath, who is helping to coordinate efforts to help Graydon, said that after an online blood drive they have enough blood for now, although more could be required depending on her condition.[...]

Graydon, originally from the United Kingdom, had come to Gwangju after teaching in Colombia, leaving her husband and 4-year-old son behind. They had sought to reunite, but were unable to do so because of visa issues, McGrath said. [...]

The financial aspect adds to the toll of Graydon’s illness. Graydon is the sole provider for her family, and has lost her public school job as a result of her illness.

Gwangju EPIK coordinator Joseph Cutler said that Graydon had already elected to travel back to the U.K. for further treatment when she could, but confirmed that he was legally required to terminate the contract after the maximum leave for sickness, 30 days, had been exceeded.

There were some concerns that this would leave her uninsured, but the National Health Insurance Corporation said that foreign workers who have been in the country for more than three months could transfer to self-employed status after leaving their jobs by contacting their local branch. [...]

Even with this, McGrath says they estimate Graydon will need about 15 million won to pay for treatment and travel back to the U.K.

Cutler pointed out that the national health insurance scheme only paid part of the cost, and advised other foreign teachers to consider additional private insurance.

McGrath said that many locals had been raising funds through busking and sales, and that auctions were planned by the Korea MacPC Guys ― a pair of Gwangju expats who repair electronics and sell them to raise money for good causes. A page had been set up on but direct donations can also be made. So far about 3.5 million won had been raised, he said.
There's a Facebook page here and more information here.

Oddly enough, I found out about this through Korean language news reports. Yonhap reported on this yesterday, followed by Newsis, NoCut News, News 1, and Asia Gyeongje, and Newsis even provided a number to call, which is certainly nice to see.

In other Gwangju-related foreign teacher news, News 1 reported earlier this week that at around 11pm on April 22 a female Canadian middle school native speaking teacher living in Ssangchon-dong in Gwangju opened the door after somone knocked on it. At the door was a man in his 30s who suddenly tried to cover her mouth and punched her in the face. When she fell on the floor, she kicked him several times and he fled. As it turns out, in Canada she had learned and become good at taekwondo, and fortunately she wasn't badly injured. Police think the assailant was trying to commit robbery or sexual assault, and are trying to trace his whereabouts using local CCTV cameras.

As well, Gwangju News has an article about teaching English in public schools back in the 1970s during the Peace Corps days which is worth reading.

1 comment:

brent said...

It's finally happened!