October 14-18, 2005
Nippon Kan Instructor, Dr. Ray Howe was asked by AHAN General Headquarters to go to Nicaragua to assist in the diagnosis and care of AHAN Nicaragua student Armando Lopez. Armando, a young man of twenty, has already lost one leg above the knee to cancer. Armando’s answer to the cancer that took his leg was to enroll in the Nicaragua University to study law, and to begin the practice of Aikido. Two years ago, Homma Kancho met Armando while visiting Nicaragua. He was impressed not only by Armando’s physical mastery of practicing aikido with a prosthesis, but also by his strong spirit and enthusiasm for Aikido and for life. Armando’s dream he told Homma Kancho was to visit Nippon Kan in Denver and see snow for the first time.
This past spring AHAN General Headquarters arranged for Armando to visit Nippon Kan, and raised support for this trip with a fund-raising t-shirt sale among Nippon Kan students.
Just before Armando was to leave for Denver, it was discovered that Armando’s cancer had returned, and that he needed to undergo immediate emergency surgery.
Nippon Kan and AHAN’s support then turned to one of spiritual and emotional support for Armando. Seeking to arrange for a support system for Armando, Homma Kancho asked Nippon Kan Instructor Dr. Ray Howe to go to Nicaragua personally to check on Armando’s diagnosis and progress. Dr. Howe agreed and left his busy practice in Denver for a long weekend in Nicaragua October 14th-18th, 2005.
Dr. Howe met with Armando and his family and visited the local hospital to check on Armando’s recovery process. He also spent time with AHAN Nicaragua students teaching and practicing Aikido with them.
Dr. Howe presented the following message in person to Armnado from Homma Kancho.
October 13, 2005
Is is supposed to be you that you are a healthy young man, but illness has befallen you.
Sometime it seems like the acts of God are unfair.
But thinking deeply about your situation, one very good thing has come to pass.
You have awoken your fighting spirit against this illness, and this special spirit within you has touched my heart and many of your friends here in Denver. Your spirit is so strong it has touched many people close to you and also so far away.
This illness is in your body, it is not in your spirit, and for this we must say thanks to God.
Through this illness in your body your spirit has touched many and has awoken in them their spirit of compassion.
This is Gods gift to you and also, God has given you a mission You must complete your mission from God, day by day by fighting with your strong spirit, and sharing your spirit not only with those close around you but also those you have touched so far away.
In trying to see what we can do best for you, we at Nippon Kan and AHAN have asked Dr. Howe to come to visit you for all of us.
I am always with you Armando, every day I am at your side, as well as the American friends you have made here with your story.
Don’t be worried or nervous; use your strong spirit to see you through this physical fight.
Nippon Kan Kancho
Editor’s note: This article has been written with Armando’s permission and certain details about Armando’s condition have not been released to protect his privacy.