Cancer victim finds relief in helping othersLast month in Daejeon, Park Hui-byeong, a 49-year-old cancer patient, was volunteering by washing dishes at a center for poor children with other volunteers from World Vision, an organization that provides poverty relief.
When asked whether he felt tired working there considering his condition, Mr. Park said, “Time flies when you do things to help others. Having been involved with volunteer work before, my condition gets better and I learn how much your neighbors mean to you.”
Mr. Park has been mainly packing lunch boxes and washing dishes twice a week for a year, cleaning 200 lunch boxes and packing rice and side dishes in new ones.
Daejeon’s branch of World Vision has been helping around 250 poor children by delivering lunch boxes to their houses and schools or fixing their homes.
Mr. Park worked on construction sites for 20 years, but two years ago, on his way home from work, he collapsed unconscious. He was taken to the hospital where it was discovered he had terminal stage stomach cancer. The doctor said he would only live about three more months.
His sickness wasn’t the first tragedy of his family. Mr. Park’s wife passed away from a brain tumor in 1998. Among his two daughters, the older one, 14, is mentally disabled. Only the youngest daughter, 12, has been healthy.
“It was an actual death sentence. I couldn’t believe what the doctor was telling me. But what left me saddened was that I would leave my two daughters alone in this world,” said Mr. Park, with teary eyes. Since then to treat his cancer, Mr. Park often had to be hospitalized, and there was no one to cook for his daughters at home.
But a helping hand came from an unexpected place. Parents at Daejeon Hyekwang School, a school for disabled children that his older daughter attended, heard about Mr. Park’s situation and asked World Vision for help. The organization started delivering lunch boxes to his two daughters. Mr. Park was deeply moved and happy to see his two daughters enjoying lunch.
It motivated him to join the group to help others, and he went to World Vision and asked to help. The organization said that as long as his health allowed he was more than welcome to work with them.
“Working as a volunteer, I’ve been feeling happy and more motivated to live,” he said. “That may be the reason why the cancer cells in my body have declined and the pain has reduced.”
Mr. Park said he plans to work at a center for the disabled in the near future.
by Kim Bang-hyeon
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