Let's Honor Irene's Legacy

Update as of 10/8/2017: Thanks again for your generosity and continued support. As you may have noticed, we've updated the beneficiary to reflect Claire Chen-Carter as she will manage the bank account that feeds your contributions into Ethan's 529 plan. Please contact her at [email redacted] with any questions.

Update as of 9/17/2017: It's been a month since Irene passed away and we are so grateful for everyone's continued outpouring and generosity. Donors can now send a check directly to Ethan's 529 plan. For instructions please email [email redacted]. We will keep logging those donations here so that the total reflects everyone's efforts.

Memorial Fund In Honor of Irene Cho to Benefit Her Son, Ethan Nicholas Chyung

We lost our beloved friend, Irene Cho, on August 17, 2017 to a stroke due to her ongoing struggle with Moyamoya disease. She left us much too soon, leaving everyone in shock and sadness. In the wake of our tremendous and sudden loss, some close friends wanted to honor and thank Irene for the life she led with this new campaign that will benefit her young son, Ethan. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all who donated to the Irene Cho Memorial Fund, which aided in the costs of funeral expenses and family travel.

Irene was a loving mother, wife, sister, daughter and cherished friend to so many. She never stopped giving her attention, time and support to everyone. Her immediate family made countless sacrifices that allowed her to advance independent film issues related to issues of diversity in the industry. With her effervescent personality and never-back-down attitude, she could pull off miracles as a producer.

Ethan Nicholas Chyung is a gift from God, yet another miracle. He was born out of extraordinary circumstances after Irene was diagnosed with Moyamoya, a rare blood vessel disorder. At age seven, Ethan is very curious and funny like his mom. He loves Minecraft, reads voraciously, and enjoys singing, climbing, and trading Pokemon cards. Irene and her husband Soo were committed to keeping his Korean roots alive by speaking with him in Korean and traveling regularly to their homeland. Ethan will continue to live in Oakland with Soo (Irene was working in Oakland the last year and a half) and attend school in San Francisco while participating in choir.

Irene adored Ethan more than anything and had established his 529 College Savings Plan. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, we kindly request that anyone who feels so moved to thank Irene to consider donating to Ethan’s college fund. The target of this campaign will help completely fund Ethan's 529, providing college tuition and expenses. It will also seed his Trust so that he may always have the support for any endeavor he expresses interest in -- music, art, comedy, film, coding, travel, language, study abroad, grad school… This is something that Irene would have wanted for him.

So please honor Irene’s accomplishments and help us fund Ethan’s education so he may sail into adulthood with his mother’s inspiration, generosity and creative spirit no matter what path he takes.

Please join our Facebook group:

-- Created with love by Brook Lee, David Magdael, John Wildman, Rose Kuo, Claire Chen-Carter, & Leilani Yau

*** If you would prefer donating directly or in another way, please contact Claire Chen-Carter at [email redacted] or Brook Lee at [email redacted]. Those may be also acknowledged and added to this campaign as an "Offline Donation." ***


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  • Andy Shrader 
    • $50 
    • 36 mos
  • Kanako Murakoshi 
    • $20 
    • 36 mos
  • Hanna Lee 
    • $100 
    • 39 mos
  • Pete Maxfield 
    • $100 
    • 40 mos
  • Maikella Clark 
    • $100 
    • 40 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Leilani Madrazo Yau 
San Francisco, CA
Claire Chen-Carter 
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