Mum inspired to help
WHAT was supposed to be a welcome Christmas reunion between David Kemp and his mother - Warwick's Heather Hibbitt - ended with the shocking diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma for the 39-year-old teacher and basketball strengthening coach.
It was the first time in five years David had returned to Australia from his new home in Japan.
"David came home for two weeks," Heather said.
"He knew he had a lump and it turned out to be a tumour."
With the cancer in his blood, lymph nodes and spleen, David had to leave behind his life in Japan and stay in Australia to start chemotherapy.
Heather said it had been a difficult year, with her son in Japan when the earthquakes and tsunami hit.
When that tragedy struck, David stayed on, helping the community of Sendai, dedicating his time in the months after to helping others.
Heather said even if the cancer responded well to treatment, it was difficult to get an exact prognosis.
"They have said it could be 10 years but that's the very best case. That would be a miracle," she said.
"It's just a waiting game. But he is positive and his wife is coming out from Japan in two weeks."
She said her son's battle inspired to her take up the World's Greatest Shave challenge and raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation - which had already offered her a great deal of support.
"I am just so amazed at what they do," Heather said.
"And I have raised over $1000."
She will have her head shaved this morning at Rose City Shoppingworld at 11am.