Brain surgery saved one student from ill-fated ferry trip

May 2, 2014
A girl ties yellow ribbons with messages for missing passengers aboard the sunken ferry boat Sewol in the water off the southern coast, in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, May 2, 2014. More than 300 people are dead or missing in the disaster that has caused widespread grief, anger and shame. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A girl ties yellow ribbons with messages for missing passengers aboard the sunken ferry boat Sewol in the water off the southern coast, in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, May 2, 2014. More than 300 people are dead or missing in the disaster that has caused widespread grief, anger and shame. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

By Lee Kyutae

As it turns out, one student from Danwon High School was saved by a brain tumor.

The only reason Park Jin-su did not get on that ill-fated ferry was because he had suffered a relapse in his recovery from a brain tumor. Instead, he underwent surgery the day before his entire eleventh-grade classmates got on the ship named Sewol.

As Jin-su was in his hospital room recovering after a five-hour-long surgery, the ship carrying his classmates left for Jeju island, and never came back.

Both his homeroom teacher and his best friend Lee Da-woon had paid him a visit just before leaving. They sent him text messages to wish him well, but it was their lives that ended first.

At first, his mother didn’t know what to tell him. Both bodies of his teacher and friend had been found, and she worried that such shocking news might worsen her son’s medically unstable condition.

But when he told her that he saw his best friend Da-woon in his dream, and about how much fun he had on a car trip with him with a big smile on his face, she had to tell him just what had happened.

“If I wasn’t sick I might not be here right now,” Jin-su said, looking out the window inside his hospital room. “I thought I was going through a lot of pain, but now it feels like what I am going through is nothing compared to what happened to my friends.”

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