Havin Ayşe Baldaz, a 13-year-old cancer patient from the southern town of Tarsus, made the trip of her lifetime when the South Korea tourism authority fulfilled her wish to visit Seoul and meet her favorite K-Pop bands.
Diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma four years ago, Baldaz stumbled on South Korean culture online while she was undergoing treatment. Fascinated with K-Pop, the young girl, who comes from a poor family, spoke about her dreams to travel to Seoul one day in an interview with local media. Upon hearing her story, South Korea's tourism office in Istanbul reached out to the Baldaz family and arranged a trip for the girl and her family to South Korea.
For about a week, Baldaz toured the country. On the first day of her trip, she visited a theme park run by prominent broadcaster MBC, which offers attractions for K-Pop and drama fans. She then sampled South Korean food, watched a play and visited museums.
Probably the most exciting chapter of the trip for the young girl was when she met Seventeen, one of the K-Pop bands she loves. Band members took photos with their Turkish visitor and gave her an autographed album.
"This is the best day of my life. I am very happy that my dream came true," Baldaz told Anadolu Agency (AA).