The Korea Herald


Fundraiser for deceased expats’ families

By Korea Herald

Published : Sept. 11, 2012 - 20:43

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Friends of two Korea-based English teachers who died due to unknown causes while backpacking in Vietnam are holding a party in Itaewon on Friday to raise funds for the girls’ families.

American Karin Bowerman, 27, and Canadian Cathy Huynh, 26, had been visiting the coastal town of Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province, during a week-long vacation when they suddenly fell ill and passed away on July 30 and Aug. 2, respectively. 
Cathy Huynh (left) and Karin Bowerman Cathy Huynh (left) and Karin Bowerman

The two had been vomiting and Bowerman had trouble breathing when they were admitted to a nearby military hospital. Bowerman was quickly transferred to the provincial general hospital, where she suffered respiratory failure and died later that evening.

Huynh, after being treated and released from the military hospital in the same night, fell ill again on Aug. 1 and died early the next morning.

Autopsies were performed on Bowerman in Khanh Hoa Province and on Huynh in her hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, but no results of either test have yet been released.

Family members of Huynh accompanied her body back to Hamilton, where a funeral was held on Aug. 12.

Bowerman’s body was cremated in Vietnam due to prohibitively expensive transport costs, and her ashes and belongings were delivered to her family in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where a funeral service was held on Aug. 25.

Both Bowerman and Huynh had taught at public elementary schools in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province. Bowerman later moved to Seoul’s Gangnam area and Huynh worked at another elementary school Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.

Friends in Bowerman’s and Huynh’s hometowns have collectively raised over $36,000 via online fundraisers to help the families with transport, funeral and related costs.

Their friends in Korea are having an all-night party at Sin Bin Sports Pub in Itaewon to add to the contributions by doing what they say Bowerman and Huynh loved to do best: getting together with friends and have fun.

Starting at 8 p.m., 50 percent of all sales on Long Island Iced Teas ― Bowerman’s favorite drink ― will be donated to the families by the pub. Organizers will also hold a 50-50 raffle in which half the money raised will go to the winner and the other half to the families.

From 9 p.m., 16 teams will face off in a beer pong tournament on the pub’s three beer pong tables. Registration is from 8-9 p.m. and costs 20,000 won per team, which will be pooled and split between the families and the winning team.

“Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend. Kari and Cathy were both very social and had so many friends, and would definitely say, ‘The more the merrier,’” said co-organizer Megan McAfee.

For more information, visit or search “Friday Night Fundraiser for Cathy and Kari (9/14)” on Facebook.

By Elaine Ramirez (