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“It’s Nothing”

Posted July. 13, 2007 07:46,   


A woman in her 60s surnamed Lee donated land she owned in Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam worth 40 billion won to the Korea University Medical Center (KUMC) recently. It is the single largest individual donation in Korean history.

The donator was once hospitalized in KUMC to have her chronic disease treated. KUMC, located in Ahnam-dong, Seongbuk, said on Thursday that Lee delivered land-related documents in May, saying, “My mother told me not to obsess with material wealth. I want to follow her words.” The KUMC did not disclose her name or family information at the request of Lee. As a result, her praiseworthy deed was left unknown for the past two months.

When the KUMC asked her why she wanted to remain anonymous, she replied, “When my mother bequeathed her wealth to me, she told me to return it to society. I am only a mediator between her and KUMC.”

According to KUMC, Lee’s mother made tens of billions of won by running a successful transport company after her long career as a teacher. Thanks to her successful business, Lee, an only daughter, had an affluent youth. However, Lee’s mother always told Lee, “Wealth is nothing once you get the hang of it. Don’t obsess with material wealth. Always help those in need.”

Like mother, like daughter, Lee and her family live a simple and frugal life at their house where they had been living for quite awhile. When her mother passed away in 2003, she searched for the right place to donate her inheritance for a few years. One day, she went to KUMC to treat her illness and she decided to make her donation there.

Reportedly, Lee told KUMC, “I believe KUMC is just the place for my mother’s donation. KUMC and Korea University medical school are greatly contributing to medical research as well as to social volunteer work.

Dr. Hong Seung-gil, KUMC vice president for Health Affairs, said, “It is probably the first time for a university to receive donation worth 40 billion won unconditionally from an individual in the whole history of Korea University. KUMC will put more energy into medical research and social contribution to honor the donor.”

KUMC plans to build a new hospital on the donated land. It is also reviewing a plan to use Lee’s mother’s name as the new hospital’s name in order to honor her generous spirit. The KUMC will also discuss plans with Lee about the hospital’s main services.