‘Trail’ reaches Point Pedro

Roshen Steelman and Revata S. Silva in Point Pedro

Yesterday (July 27) was, according to Dr. Kanishka Karunarathne, who is the Director Cancer Hospital, Maharagama, a historic day for the people of Jaffna. As the 27-day-long walk, which began on July 1 at Dondra, organised by a charity named ‘Colours of Courage Trust’ reached its destination at Point Pedro in the Jaffna Peninsula last morning, more than three fourth of the funds needed for building a much-needed children’s cancer unit for the people of Jaffna was raised.

The charity walk, aimed solely at finding funds for such a noble cause, was graced by a host of dignitaries, as well as sports personalities of yesterday, including National cricketers Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews, boxers Manju Wanniarachchi and Anuruddha Ratnayake.

Jayawardene, one of the trustees of ‘Colours of Courage Trust,’ participated in the last lap of the walk yesterday, which spanned 16kms.

"This is a historic day for the people of Jaffna. Cancer is a fast increasing now. Even now there are about 1,000 patients at the Maharagama Cancer Hospital and two thirds of them are from rural areas. Having a cancer treatment unit in every outstation hospital is very important," said Dr. Karunarathne, after the ‘Trail’ reached Point Pedro.

"Even beggers by the roadside contributed. I hope Sri Lankans living abroad too will contribute towards the Rs. 60 million required to complete job.

"When Tamil people visit Maharagama for treatment for their children, they go through a lot of hardships. Such a thing affects the entire family. And they cannot communicate in Tamil at Maharagama. Now I’ve made it compulsory for every staffer to talk in both Sinhala and Tamil to the patients."

Meanwhile, Dian Gomes, another trustee of the ‘Colours of Courage Trust’ and one of the main orchestrators of the ‘Trails’ project, said; "about 30,000 people joined the 670km long walk which raised about Rs.140m. We expect to complete the construction of the hospital in four months. I’m proud to be a Sri Lankan," Gomes added.

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