Koreans have nicknamed Sean the “Charity Angel” since long ago. He is known to advocate the importance of giving back to the community. So when he brought back the “Ice Bucket Challenge” from 2014, K-Pop idols and celebrities became inspired to contribute to the cause.
Thanks to Sean, South Korea is now the only country to still be active in participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2018.
Sean is co-chairing the Seung-Il Hope Foundation, dedicated to serving the Korean ALS patients and families. He does not receive any payment from the foundation for his position, as he knows any salary must come from the donations and he wishes not to deplete the funds to pay himself.
To fundraise for building the first South Korean medical facility specifically for the research and treatment of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Sean became the first to soak himself wet with a bucket of ice, for the 2018 Ice Bucket Challenge.
“I wanted to bring back the positively influential campaign that allows one person to motivate three others, eventually affecting 88,573 people to become aware and supportive of the cause.” — Sean
When the first Ice Bucket Challenge trended in 2014, it spread like wild fire. Korean celebrities blew up the social media platforms with their ice bucket videos and contributions. Many tried to influence the public by participating in both the ice bucket challenge and the donation.
Unfortunately, some ‘haters’ began criticizing that the celebrities are “using the campaign to show off their relationships with other popular celebrities”. Once the negativity took over, celebrities felt discouraged to participate and the campaign died out rather quickly.
To prevent such an abrupt end from happening again, Sean tweaked the campaign a bit to make sure it can continue.
“In 2014, you could donate without pouring the ice bucket over yourself and that was it. You didn’t have to pick three people to join. For the 2018 campaign, I changed the rule so you have to ask three people even after you donate.” — Sean
Sean looks forward to seeing the fun campaign live longer this time around — and it looks like his wish will come true. The participation rate is higher than in 2014. Plus, the participants have matured with the campaign.
“The first three people I picked, actors Daniel Henney and Park Bo Gum, and Girls’ Generation’s Sooyoung, explained the cause, the campaign, and the rules so well that people understood the whole thing more clearly and are contributing better.” — Sean
Sean’s positivity is taking over the idol fandoms as well. Park Bo Gum’s fans are donating $6.16, an amount based off the actor’s birthdate. Wanna One’s Kang Daniel, EXO’s Chanyeol, and Sechskies’ Kang Sung Hoon all motivated the fans to take action as well.
The goal is to raise enough to found the first South Korean ALS treatment center. While the foundation has raised over 3.6 million dollars since 2011, purchasing the land where the center will be built cost 2 million dollars. With the fundraiser, Sean and the foundation hope to gather enough to proceed with the construction!
“ALS is not only difficult for the patient, but also for the family. Family has to constantly watch and help the patient. Often, this results in the family falling apart because members cannot work to support themselves. With the center, families of ALS patients will have somewhere to trust to help them get through the treatment process. The center will look after the patients so the affected family members can still lead their own lives while supporting the patients.” — Sean