Name: Tanaka Kibou (Kibou Tanaka in English)
Appearance: Kibou is about 5’2” and of Japanese descent. He is emaciated with no hair at all due to chemotherapy. His breathing is labored, and weak. He is barely able to open his eyes. Since coming to hospice he has worn a traditional Japanese kimono. The robe was colored black with a lotus blossom pattern.
Background: Kibou was born in Japan, but came to the US on student visa at 13 to attend a prestigious private school. His family had hoped he would learn how to do business with western companies. He succeeded beyond their wildest expectation.
At 20 he got a work visa and opened a branch of his parent’s company in New York. He was able to quickly make connections through friends from school. Serious and hard working, he was known for staying at the office for 12 hours a day 7 days a week. The business grew and Kibou was proud of his success.
All that changed when he turned 22 and began to feel ill. He went to the doctors and found out he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He immediately began treatment and at first he continued to work as before. However, the treatments and disease wore him down and he was forced to work less and less.
After 2 years he was no longer able to work. The disease had not slowed with treatment and he had begun to feel down. He looked at his life and felt he had wasted his time not enjoying life. He was wandering the hospital aimlessly when he saw Trisha. She was tiny, not more than 5, and pale with paper thin skin. She wore a hat, but the lack of eyebrows told him enough – she had cancer like him. He had never considered that children suffered like he did.
That encounter brought him purpose, and a way to leave his mark on the lives of others. He talked to his family, told them his intentions and asked for his inheritance. They were resistant at first. When he introduced them to several sick children they agreed.
For the next 2 years he spent every penny he had on helping families with children with cancer. He donated over $1 million dollars to St. Judes. He was a regular in the children’s ward at his hospital. He told Japanese folk tales and did little puppet shows.
Unfortunately, his treatment failed. It had come to the point where further treatment would only cause suffering, and they moved him to a hospice. The doctors told him he had a week at most. At this point he wasn’t afraid to meet his ancestors, and was proud of the work he had put in to help the children. His only regret was being unable to do more.
As he lay in his room, eyes closed and breathing shallow, a glow caused his eyes to open. At the end of his bed stood a beautiful woman in a cherry blossom kimono, head wreathed in sunlight.
“Have you come to take me to my ancestors?” he asked
“No. You have proven yourself honorable and giving to your fellow man. Through your own pain you cared only for the children,” she paused and looked down at him with a small smile. “I will grant you a boon. I cannot cure you, but I will grant what you ask.”
Kibou thought and finally said “I know I am lost, but can you give me the secret of how to stop cancer? The children should never suffer the way I have.”
She was taken aback “You have only 2 days? What good would that knowledge do you?”
“I will find a way to get someone to listen. This suffering must end.”
The surprise slid from her like water “I should have known you wished only to help others.” She waved her hand and a small charm appeared in her hand. “This amulet will block the pain from the disease and allow you to travel anywhere at will. You still have only two days,” she touched his forehead and the knowledge flowed into him.
She stepped back and began to fade. “I wish you luck on your quest. You are among the greatest of men,” she disappeared into a sunbeam.
Kibou slipped on the amulet and went immediately to his computer. He was on a deadline and needed information. Kibou had always been good at deadlines.