Tag Archives: cancer

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 6.30.34 PM

Family by Side, Maryland Governor Announces Cancer Diagnosis


by SUEVON LEE | @suevlee

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, whose upset victory last November ushered in a new era of Republican leadership of a Democratic stronghold while introducing a new first lady of the state—the Korean-born Yumi Hogan—announced Monday that he has an advanced form of cancer of the lymph nodes, according to media reports.

Surrounded by wife Yumi, their adult daughters Jaymi Kim Sterling and Kim Velez, and granddaughter Daniella Velez, the 59-year-old governor announced in a news conference at the state capital Monday that he has been diagnosed with late stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and will soon begin an 18-week chemotherapy regimen, according to the Washington Post.

Hogan, who said he has no intention to step down from office and will rely upon Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford to fill in for him on state business when necessary, discovered a lump on his neck while shaving during a recent trade mission to Asia, according to the Post. After returning from the two-week trip, which took him to Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo, the governor canceled a number of events, according to CNN.

Media outlets have noted that treatment for the governor’s form of cancer is “fatiguing and time-consuming” based on other patients’ accounts but that about 70 percent of patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are still alive five years after diagnosis.

“There’s a very strong chance of success,” the Post quoted Hogan as saying Monday. “Not only a strong chance of survival, but a strong chance of beating it altogether.”

The paper noted that “in classic Hogan style, the governor tried to lighten the mood on Monday, even as members of the Cabinet and his relatives sometimes fought tears.”

The governor’s 11-year marriage to wife Yumi, an artist and art professor, was a notable sidebar to his surprise election, as KoreAm wrote about in the February/March 2015 print issue. Considered the governor’s rock of support, Yumi helped campaign for her husband, has introduced aspects of Korean American culture into the governor’s mansion and, in the wake of the riots that ravaged West Baltimore in late April following the death of Freddie Gray, facilitated conversations between Korean small business owners devastated by the looting and state officials who pledged their support.

Yumi Hogan has three adult daughters from a previous marriage, who are close to the governor and call him their father.

The Capital Gazette has rounded up reactions from local, state and national officials following the governor’s announcement.


Featured image via Capital Gazette/Video (Screengrab)

subscribe button

ken jeong

Ken Jeong Says ‘Hangover’ Role Inspired by Wife

by DAVID BAUDER | @dbauder
AP Television Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Ken Jeong says that much of the inspiration for his memorably angry Mr. Chow character in The Hangover movie was a reaction to his wife’s fight against breast cancer at the time.

His small role in the 2009 comedy, which included leaping naked out of a car trunk to attack someone, was so wildly over-the-top that he won an MTV Movie Award for it.

Even after earning the role, however, he wasn’t going to take it. He explained in a short film to accompany the upcoming PBS documentary, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, that he was caring for his wife, Tran Ho, and their one-year-old twins as she was undergoing chemotherapy.

“Tran encouraged me to do it,” Jeong said in an interview. “She thought I was suffering from caregiver burnout.”

He channeled his rage at his wife’s plight into the character, he said. One monologue that wound up being cut from the film but used as a DVD outtake turned into a pure rant that Jeong sees now he was doing to unburden himself.

Jeong, who is Korean, slipped in some dialogue in Vietnamese purely as an inside joke for his wife, who is Vietnamese.

He accepted his MTV award with an emotional speech just after the couple learned that she was cancer-free for two years. Before he could talk about it to the media following the show, he slipped into an alley behind the theater and broke down crying.

Shortly after that, the Stand Up to Cancer organization asked him to do some volunteer work, and that included the online film that is being used to promote the PBS project, a film by Barak Goodman and Ken Burns that brings to life the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Siddhartha Mukherjee. The three-part film airs on PBS March 30, 31 and April 1

Tran Ho has now been cancer-free for six years.

“She’s just a pillar of strength,” Jeong said. “She’s my biggest inspiration because she handled it with such grace and strength and class. Even if I wasn’t married to her, I’d be in awe of her.”

The video is being posted Monday on the site www.cancerfilms.org.


David Bauder’s work can be found here. Featured image by Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons. 

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Kim Jung Hoon on Superstar K6

Korean Son of Deaf Parents With Cancer Sings Heartfelt Song on ‘Superstar K6′


When asked by the judges of Superstar K6 for his reason behind auditioning, contestant Kim Jung Hoon could hardly hold back tears as he revealed a heartbreaking story about his family.

“Both of my parents are deaf,” Kim said in his pre-audition interview. He added that both of his parents lost their hearing during early childhood and currently have cancer: his mother suffering from thyroid cancer and his father from colorectal cancer.

“It felt like the world was falling apart,” he said.

Despite their disabilities, Kim’s parents came to the audition to show full support for their son.

“When we see our son, even though we can’t hear him sing, we believe that he can succeed,” Kim’s father said through sign language. His wife agreed, saying that they believe in their son whether he sings well or poorly.

Once Kim took the stage, he proved that he could sing not only beautifully but also with powerful emotion. His rendition of Lee Sun-hee’s “Fate” moved some of the judges to tears.

Watch his performance below:


Activists Demand Third-Party Factory Inspection After Another Samsung Worker Dies of Leukemia


A Samsung worker died earlier this month from leukemia, a labor advocacy group said Tuesday. Family members and activists claim the death was a direct result of lethal chemical exposure at chip-making plants.

Yonhap News reported that compensation talks between similar victims and Samsung had ended just a few days earlier without any significant progress.

Lee Beom-woo, 47, died a month after being hospitalized for leukemia, according to the Protector of Health and Human Rights of Semiconductor Workers (SHARP), an advocacy group representing workers who became ill or died while working at Samsung’s chip-making facilities. Lee had reportedly spent 23 of his 27 years at Samsung working at their Onyang, South Chungcheong Province facility, about 75 miles south of Seoul.

“Samsung’s semiconductor production line in Onyang is a place where hazardous factors linked to leukemia, such as epoxy resin and radiation machines, exist,” reads a SHARP statement, citing a 2012 study by the Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute.

Research by SHARP shows there were 40 cases of environment-related diseases at the Onyang facility, including 12 workers suffering from lymphatic system-related illnesses. The number jumps to 150 cases when taking Samsung’s other facilities into account, according to the organization.

The issue has been receiving plenty of media attention this past year. A Bloomberg Businessweek article told the story of Hwang Yu-mi, a woman who began working in a Samsung facility at the age of 18 and was dead at 22 from leukemia in 2007. The article, which also detailed her father’s ongoing struggle and the larger movement to expose the dangerous use of carcinogens, coincided with the Galaxy S5 smartphone launch.

Samsung publicly apologized for the first time in May for the deaths and suffering of its workers, promising compensation and further negotiations. However, after the last meeting on July 30, Samsung and SHARP remain at an impasse. The company reportedly has yet to agree to a third-party inspection of its facilities.

Image via Engadget


Michelle Wie Takes The ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’


It’s the weirdest fad (granted, for a good cause) that developed in recent months in the sports world. The ice bucket challenge requires participants to dump a bucket of ice water over their heads. On top of doing that, the person also donates $50 to the Kay Yow Fund before nominating three other athletes to take part in the campaign. The Kay Yow Fund helps support scientific research and related programs focused on women’s cancers.

For athletes who’d rather keep their heads warm and dry, they can choose to donate $250 instead.

LPGA pro Michelle Wie, who recently won the U.S. Women’s Open, was among the latest athletes to accept the challenge. Here’s the video.


Samsung to Respond to Allegations of Lethal Chemical Exposure of Its Workers

Hwang Sang-ki, with his daughter Yu-mi, before her death in 2007 from leukemia. Image via Electronics Take Back Coalition

The increasing profile and growing public outrage over allegations of lethal chemical exposure of workers at Samsung Electronics Co. has prompted the company to say that it will be releasing its official response to the issue soon.

It will be Samsung’s first public statement on the deaths of dozens of its workers from leukemia and other rare cancers, which family members and activists claim was a direct result of lethal chemical exposure at its chip-making plants. Samsung’s breaking of its silence, seven years after the allegations first arose, follows a recent storm of attention in the media. An extensive report from Bloomberg Businessweek released on April 10—the same day Samsung released its flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone—told the story of Hwang Yu-mi, a woman who at age 18 went to work at a Samsung semiconductor plant in 2003 and was dead from leukemia by age 22. The article also detailed her father’s ongoing struggle to expose the truth about what happened to her and the larger movement he launched to call attention to the dangerous use of carcinogens at electronics factories.

A movie based on her story, titled Another Promise, was released in February this year, and Empire of Shame, a documentary detailing a further 57 cases of leukemia and other blood-related cancers across several Samsung plants—including that of Yu-mi’s coworker—premiered in early March. Samsung declined to discuss specific cases for the Bloomberg article, saying in a statement that it spent about $88 million in 2011 on the maintenance and improvement of its safety infrastructure.

Meanwhile, a South Korean lawmaker last week called for Samsung to apologize and compensate the families of the victims. Kim Jun-shik, an executive vice president at Samsung, said the company was “reviewing the proposals in a sincere manner” and that it would issue an official statement soon.

According to the Bloomberg story, when Yu-mi’s father, Hwang Sang-ki, tried to file for worker’s compensation during her treatment, Samsung intervened and challenged the family’s right to file, according to the report. Hwang’s application with the Korean Workers Compensation and Welfare Service (KCOMWEL) was denied in 2009. When the 58-year-old tax driver appealed to a South Korean court in 2011, the court ruled in favor of him and ordered KCOMWEL to pay him, only to have KCOMWEL file an appeal in return.

Hwang Sang-ki at a memorial service for his late daughter and others

who died of occupational deaths in March 2012.

The article noted that if Hwang’s application for worker’s compensation had gone through, Samsung would not have paid a penny or even been charged with employer negligence. However, the company went through great lengths to pay Hwang and families of other workers who had died in order to get them to withdraw their claims and stop talking about the issue publicly, the article said.

There are more than 40 cases pending either before KCOMWEL or in court today. While Hwang is one of those still awaiting a decision, KCOMWEL and the South Korean courts have started easing their resistance, awarding benefits in a few high-profile cases.

October Issue: Breast Cancer Survivor Shares Her Story

Let’s Talk About Breasts

October marks Breast Cancer Awareness month, and one young woman wants you to know that early detection saves lives. It saved hers.

by Hannah Lee

I was 28 years old the day I felt a lump in my right breast. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Call it woman’s intuition or a gut feeling, but I knew right then that I had breast cancer.

The next couple months went by fast. Not only did I feel a lump, but also had bloody discharge from the nipple. Due to my young age and no family history, my doctor initially thought that I had an infection. When that “infection” never cleared up, he ordered a biopsy, and a few days later, I was told it was not breast cancer.

But, instead of feeling tremendous relief upon hearing the good news, I knew something wasn’t right and shared my doubts with my doctor. I would undergo a lumpectomy, and that test clearly showed what the earlier biopsy did not: The mass was large, as in seven centimeters. In terms of tumor size, this was big.

On March 31, 2009, my doctor confirmed what I had long suspected: breast cancer. Continue reading