In the famous Korean drama Jewel In the Palace, actress Lee Young Ae played Jang Geum in retelling her real story of the first woman to become the King's personal physician in a male-dominated society. In real life, Lee Young Ae has just extended a urgently needed helping hand and helped save a premature baby born to Taiwanese parents who were visiting South Korea.

Fans of the popular Korean drama Jewel in the Palace (aka Dae Jang Geum,) the Taiwanese couple decided to visit South Korea. However, the 7-month pregnant wife slipped and fell in the hotel room, and she experienced terrible pains the next day and gave birth prematurely. They named the baby Coly.

Little Coly weighed only 2.8 pounds when she was born and suffered a condition called gallbladder atresia. She desperately required surgery but the high financial cost was too much to bear for the couple. Volunteers at the local chapter of renowned Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu-Chi Foundation decided to raise funds to help the couple, but the estimate kept going higher, and there wasn't enough fund raised to meet all the cost.

As the volunteers later revealed, when Lee Young Ae saw the baby's photo, the mother of twins immediately recognized Coly's premature condition and was very touched to hear about the parents' financial plight. The total estimate was over 400 million won (US$396,000) and Lee generously donated 150 million won (US$148,000) to meet the shortfall. In all, Coly was treated at 3 different hospitals and had 2 surgeries.

The incident first occurred in February. After four months in the hospital, baby Coly now weighed about 7 pounds and was finally able to travel with her parents to Taiwan. Lee Young Ae went to the hospital on June 29 to visit the parents and Coly before their departure, and it was a very heartwarming visit. Lee also gave a present of clothing and a juicer for the baby, and she even offered to have the family stay with her when they visit Korea again.

The beautiful and kind Lee Young Ae would have preferred to keep her good deed unpublicized, but we are glad that this story has now been revealed. Her kindness and generosity has been reported in both Taiwanese and Korean media, and it's truly a nice gesture that promotes cross-cultural understanding and friendship. As reported, the parents have also expressed their deep appreciation for the help given by Korean volunteers and hospital staff during Coly's stay.

Jewel in the Palace was first released in 2003 and its popularity has become legendary as it triggered the interest and love for Korean dramas and the start of Korean wave, especially in Asian countries.