Customers rally to help out owner of South Portland sewing shop
In her 20 years as the owner, Jung Kim of Jung’s Quality Alterations in South Portland has always gone the extra mile for her clients – whether it’s working overtime to get a wedding dress ready in time for the big day, or making sure that a prom dress, suit or jeans will fit just right.
When Kim was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer in September and forced to close her Thornton Heights store while she underwent treatment, her customers and neighbors decided it was their turn to take it a step further .
Lynn Landry, a customer for over 15 years, organized a fundraiser on GoFundMe to help Kim and her family while the shop is closed.
“When I found out she had cancer and learned of her husband’s death, I felt like she deserved to be supported by the communities that have supported her for so many years,” Landry told The Forecaster. “This fundraiser is a way to give her the financial support she needs so she can focus on her health and return to her passion for sewing and helping others when she is able.”
As of Wednesday, $6,895 had been raised from 118 donors.
“The number of people who turned out for the fundraiser came as a shock to my mom,” Kim’s son Joshua wrote in an email to The Forecaster. “She couldn’t believe that so many people would be willing to leave a donation for her to help with expenses.”
Between the death of his father and his mother’s cancer diagnosis, Joshua described the past year as “a roller coaster of emotions” for his family.
“My mother has told me that the only way she can carry this current burden is by thinking of both my sister and me as a reason to keep fighting and moving on,” he said.
But things are looking up. Kim’s condition has improved after her first round of treatment, Joshua said, and after the surgery scheduled for April, she hopes to be able to reopen the shop.
“I feel like the improvement has given her hope and she can’t wait to get back to work,” Joshua said. “She’s always been what some would call a ‘workaholic.'”
A native of South Korea, Jung had to leave school early to work in factories and earn money to support her mother and several siblings, according to the GoFundMe page. She later moved to the United States with her husband and settled in Maine, where they raised two children and opened the alteration business.
Her husband died unexpectedly last year and she “has worked tirelessly to support herself and to keep the family business going. Jung is an exceptionally kind and generous person who always puts the needs of others ahead of her own,” says the fundraiser.
While Kim’s prognosis is “very favorable” right now, her son said, she still has a long journey ahead of her – but it seems the community will be with her every step of the way.
To donate to the fundraiser, visit gofundme.com/f/join-us-in-supporting-jungs-battle-with-cancer.
The Cape Elizabeth School Building Advisory Committee was a major attraction