Cancer Patient Becomes a Healer

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Cancer Patient Becomes a Healer

"'Get up and go to school!' Are you sick and tired of your mom's nagging? Well, we envy you." These are the words of a rap performed in a high school show. The show, titled "Fly, Fly Away!" took place in downtown Seoul on Wednesday afternoon and was directed by Lee Joo-sil, an actress with years of experience. The 14 student performers were from Youngsan Seongji High School, an "alternative" high school in South Cholla Province.

The students have all been expelled before and were labeled "problem children." Ms. Lee has her own problems: she was diagnosed with cancer in its terminal stage in 1993. She's been told she only has a few days to live. She cannot eat without vomiting a few minutes later. For the past eight months, she has coached the "problem children" to a successful performance. The show's theme was the students' high-school experiences of rejection and conflict at home. "Through performance, I have tried to teach them how to forgive the adults who inflicted the wounds on their hearts," says Ms. Lee. "You can call it performance therapy."

Ms. Lee got to know these children when she gave a lecture at the high school last fall. The students didn't take to her to begin with, she says, but she persevered as she felt that they were suffering greater afflictions than herself. She moved into their dormitory last February and has since tried to help them feel the benefits of her own form of therapy.

by Jung Hyo-sik

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