Family and friends of an Oklahoma City man, who is battling a rare disease in South Korea, are trying to raise money to cover his medical bills and bring him back home.
In June, 2012, Sean Jones moved to Hwajung, South Korea, to teach English. Jones' brother Brandon told News 9 that Jones loves meeting new people and learning about other cultures. That's why he decided to become a full-time English teacher in South Korea.
"He made a lot of friends. He just loves being around people," said Brandon Jones. "Sean is just one of those people that can actually just get to know anyone. It's not really hard for him."
In May, 2013, Sean told his friends that he was beginning to feel sick. He was misdiagnosed at first and ended up in the ICU at one of the hospitals in Seoul, Korea.
Jones was eventually diagnosed with Encephalitis NMDA, which is the inflammation of the brain. Viral infections are the most common cause of the condition.
"The first time I saw him, he looked like himself. But he was not quite there. Like his brain had reset. He would actually move and look at me, but he wouldn't say anything. He was almost child-like," Brandon Jones said.
Family members say Jones suffered from internal bleeding and has lost a lot of weight. Luckily, the doctor says he hasn't suffered any brain damage.
After being treated for the disease, family members say Jones is doing better, and he was able to eat and talk again.
However, the extensive treatment left Jones a hefty medical bill. He has used up all his savings.
Over this weekend, the financial department at the hospital in Seoul moved Jones into a group room, and even threatened to block Jones' passport until he pays the medical bills. Family members say the remaining bill stands at $34,000.
Family and friends have been hosting garage sales to raise funds for Jones, and are taking donations. They have also started a Facebook campaign in hopes of raising $50,000 to cover Jones' medical bill and the costs to bring him home.
"The goal is really just to help with his medical bills, and hopefully there is no speed bumps, and we can actually get him back to the United States," said Brandon. "He's looking at least a year or two years of rehab before he can even go back to work."