A few weeks ago, we shared the story of Damian “Obi” Todd: a 47-year-old Marine veteran and (new) purple belt who will be attempting to roll for 24 hours straight in support of the R U OK? Foundation to help prevent suicide and support mental health awareness. Since then, the funds raised for the event have more than doubled, and more people are stepping up to help the event reach its $100,000 goal.
Among those supporters is jiu-jitsu black belt Daniel Lawson, who runs Progressive BJJ in Adelaide, Australia. Yesterday, Obi revealed that Lawson had donated the membership fees of all the first responders and military members who trained at his academy to “Roll Around The Clock,” adding $500 to the fundraiser.
Lawson knows Obi personally and told the Jiu-Jitsu Times that he wanted to support the cause not only for his friend, but also for his students and anyone else who might be struggling with mental health issues.
“After I learned what Obi had been through in the military and how his time there had affected him, I thought about the members of my gym who have similar jobs and how they must be fighting similar battles that I don’t know about,” he said. “I can’t imagine the things they’ve seen and done. So I wanted to do something in their honor to help out.”
For his part, Obi is hoping that other academy owners will follow Lawson’s lead. “How amazing would it be if we got a lot of BJJ clubs around the world to do the same thing?” he mused. “Not necessarily even the same amount, but around the same cause to support mental health. Props to Daniel for doing it in the first place; I hope it inspires other gyms to do the same thing.”
You can learn more about Roll Around the Clock and donate to the cause here.