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Do not give up his hope!

Posted March. 15, 2007 07:04,   

한국어

In front of Suwon City Hall in Suwon city, Gyeonggi at 2:00 p.m. on March 13, Park Jong-am (55, a Korean resident in Australia), a handicapped marathoner, started to cry. Na Hye-jin (23, Bucheon city, Gyeonggi), who greeted Park with her mother, began to cry as well.

Park lost all of the toes on his right foot in an industrial accident while he was working for an oil refining company in Australia in 2000. Defying his doctor’s expectations that he would not walk again, he started to take part in marathon races and now is running from Busan to Seoul starting from March 1 to 15 to collect funds for physically challenged people before attending the 2007 Seoul International Marathon/78th Dong-a Marathon.

A rendezvous between Hye-jin and Park was arranged after Hye-jin’s father read Dong-A Ilbo’s article on March 10 about Park passing through Daejeon.

Hye-jin’s father, Na Jeong-cheol (59), made a call to ask for Park’s phone number.

“My daughter got in a train accident on her way to university in Cheonan and became disabled like Mr. Park. Due to that shock, she dropped out of school and wouldn’t meet anybody.”

Mr. Na called Park, explained the situation to him and asked him to meet his daughter.

Park made an appointment to meet in front of Suwon City Hall. However, Hye-jin persisted in not meeting him. So Na said to Park that his wife and his son would go there instead.

However, as the appointment time approached, Hye-jin changed her mind. The reason why Park suddenly shed tears was that Hye-jin showed up unexpectedly.

Park showed the handicapped part of his body and encouraged Hye-jin not to give up her dream and courage. At Na’s invitation, Park visited his home, had a meal, and talked about how he overcame his handicap until late at night.

Hye-jin became more cheerful, made calls to her friends and went to a hair shop with her mother on March 14.

Park said, “I met many people over 13 days of running, but meeting Hye-jin rang in my heart the most. I think I was destined to meet her when I flew from Australia.”

Na said, “This is the first time that she talked to a person other than her family, and my whole family smiled and laughed since the nightmarish accident. Park is healing many people, running in his handicapped body.”



mhjee@donga.com