Jewel star helps pay for Taiwan baby's surgery
ACTRESS Lee Young Ae, who starred in Jewel In The Palace, donated more than 100 million won (S$123,000) to a Taiwanese mother who could not afford surgery to save her newborn, The Korea Herald reported on Monday.
A Taiwanese couple surnamed Meng were travelling in South Korea when Mrs Meng slipped in a hotel bathroom.
Seven months pregnant, she had to give birth prematurely, and the baby required immediate surgery. They received help from volunteer organisation Tzu Chi, Taiwan reports said.
The newborn girl, named Ke Li, had to undergo two operations and stayed at three hospitals, said a spokesman for Tzu Chi.
The hospital fees came up to about NT$4 million (S$167,000), Tzu Chi told Apple Daily.
The society tried to raise money for the couple, but managed to get only about NT$700,000.
Lee heard about the couple from her Chinese translator, and donated the rest of the sum. She said it was also to thank her fans in Taiwan.
Jewel In The Palace, which aired from autumn 2003 through spring 2004, triggered a Korean culture boom overseas, especially in Asian countries.
"Lee was very concerned about the infant's condition and visited the hospital to see the child without telling the couple beforehand," a source close to the actress told The Korea Herald. "It seems that she was afraid of putting pressure (on the couple)."
Lee is married to American-Korean businessman Jeong Ho Yeong and they have a pair of twins.