On June 13 and 14, Jeju’s foreign community will be hosting a volleyball tournament at Iho beach and they will be inviting mainlanders to join in the fun.
The organizers are hoping to complement last month’s big Frisbee tournament with an event that highlights even more of Jeju’s attractions and uniqueness. Though the tournament will have a competitive aspect, with a round-robin followed by play-offs, the hope is to create an easy-going, fun-filled and relaxed atmosphere. Games will be refereed by the participants themselves and everyone is encouraged to call their own fouls. In addition, food will be served on Iho beach on Saturday evening, and there will also be some acoustic music, games, as well as camping for those with tents.
But showcasing Jeju’s ex-pat lifestyle is not what is truly driving the organizers. This is a charity beach volleyball tournament, and the seventh in a series of fundraising efforts put on by friends of the late, great Nathan Furey, a native of Canada who lived, worked and played on Jeju.
Nathan’s story Shortly after 6 p.m. on Friday, March 13, Nathan Furey passed away. The doctors suspect the cause was a form of encephalitis. He left behind his wife Hyojeong and two baby boys; Juno, 2, and Noah, 1.
At 34, Nathan was in the prime of his life. He married his soul-mate Hyojeong a little over three years ago. He adored living on the island, surrounded by people he loved, and envisioned staying there a long time. He had just completed a Masters degree in linguistics, and was about to begin his second year as a university instructor, a position he had sought after for some time.
He was living in a home he was very happy with, in a part of town that made life pleasant and comfortable for his wife, and where his boys could grow up to be as big, strong and healthy, as he was. Nathan would ride his bike for thirty minutes, uphill, to Frisbee practice, play for hours with his friends; play hard and play well, go home, host an evening of poker with another group of friends, winning or losing graciously, and then go out the next day to spend time outdoors with his family.
He was fit in mind and body. Friends knew him as a person who did not get upset and did not upset others. He was a generous man, a dependable friend, a dedicated father, a loyal son, and a caring husband. It did not mean much for someone to say they liked Nathan Furey, that was a given, everyone did. It was much more telling of someone if they did not. With his easy-going personality and ready smile Nathan Furey won the admiration of Koreans and foreigners alike.
Despite all he had going for him, his life was cut drastically short. On Sunday March 8th, after feeling ill the previous night, Nathan checked himself into a clinic where he spent the day. His condition worsened and he was taken to a hospital in the evening. Doctors administered a gamut of tests but the results were inconclusive. He had a high fever, very high heart rate and continued seizures, which finally damaged his internal organs beyond repair.
His parents arrived from Canada on the Wednesday and were able to see him again and say goodbye before it all ended two days later.
Even before he died, anticipating a hefty hospital bill and other expenses, Nathan’s friends had sprung into action and tossed around ideas for collections and fundraisers to help his family.
An auction was started, t-shirts were designed, crafts and Frisbees were sold, an Open Mic Night was planned, Nathan’s classes were covered and the salary earned donated, and a giant pillow with Nathan’s name stitched on it was hugged and photographed for a small (but usually big) donation.
But it was not just Nathan’s friends who were contributing. Many people who had never even met Nathan were making very generous donations, too; mostly through the auction. Bread was baked and sold for 30,000won a loaf; maple syrup was going for 50,000; photographs for 200,000; and a donated motorbike went for over 700,000won. Nor did the generosity stop at the coastline; when the story got to the mainland, orders for t-shirts and frisbees arrived and bids were made on auction items.
Over the course of only a couple of weeks, millions of won were donated to the Furey Foundation, a trust fund being set up for the education of Nathan's two boys, Juno and Noah – with millions more to come.
The organizers hope you can come and take part in Jeju Furey Beach Volleyball 2009; have a great time, see a beautiful island, meet great people, and contribute to a deserving cause.
For more information visit www.jejufurey.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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