I recently received an email from my son’s dojo (karate school) that a Dai’Sempai who has occasionally led my son’s karate class had been diagnosed with a brain tumour. The man, I’m guessing in his early 40s, is solid, stealthy and strong. He has his black belt. Although I don’t know him closely, I was floored. I know cancer doesn’t differentiate between people’s stance and activity level and colour of belt, but this was pretty surprising to all. The dojo has hosted blood drives before (I just discovered this was in part to Dai’Sempai’s urging even before the news struck) and this weekend they’re hosting another in honour of him. I was moved enough to dust off my blood donor card (it’s been a couple years) and make an appointment.
I brought it up tonight to my son while he was brushing his teeth and he looked at me rather horrified that I would deliberately have a needle stuck into my arm to remove blood. I explained to him how his instructor and many others are in dire need of blood, especially ours as it’s a rarer type, and that one day I hoped he’d do the same. The dojo has even suggested that parents donating blood bring their children dressed in uniform, but I think at his age, a freshly-turned 6, that he’s still a bit young for the sight.
Regardless of his squeamishness, it was a good opportunity to talk about several things that I think he ought to be more aware of – that sometimes the people we know get sick, that we can help those in need, and that one day we might be on the receiving end and someone else could be responsible for saving our life. It was an important discussion and I think I got through.