A journey from Dondra to Point Pedro

Saturday, 28 May 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Colours of Courage Trust, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to uplifting cancer treatment facilities in Sri Lanka, together with like-minded partners, announced the launch of a historic journey from the South to the North of Sri Lanka in the hope of raising US $ 2 million to build a paediatric cancer ward at the Jaffna General Hospital.

TRAIL, ‘A journey by the living, for life’, commencing on 1 June this year from the southernmost points of Dondra will reach Point Pedro in the Northern tip of the Island covering a distance of 670 km in the span of 24 days.

In line with the policy of the Government of Sri Lanka to build multiple regional cancer care centres, TRAIL aims to build a cancer treatment facility in Jaffna, which will immensely benefit patients in the Northern, North Western, North Central and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. Since currently the only facility dedicated to cancer care in Sri Lanka is the National Cancer Institute in Maharagama, patients and families from other parts of the country must travel to Colombo for treatment enduring immense hardship and additional health complications.

TRAIL will travel a distance of 25-30 km each day and is open to the public of Sri Lanka. Volunteers of the walk can join for either a three day period, a single day or through a city or town depending on their capabilities.

Volunteers can also walk with complete distance, but the logistical facilities will be offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. Any walker wishing to participate should register at the TRAIL website at www.trailsl.com or by calling 071 3827025.

Many leading sports personalities and local icons such as T M Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardena and Damayanthi Darsha have pledged their support as Journey Ambassadors of TRAIL and have committed to join the walk at various stages.

Speaking on the importance of the walk, a Trustee of the Colours of Courage Trust and Group Director of MAS Holdings Dian Gomes said “We are coming together as one country, devoid of any divisions to raise the money, people from different parts of Sri Lanka, from different ethnic and social backgrounds will come together to make this project successful, that in itself is also a remarkable achievement,”

All volunteer walkers will help towards raising funds for the cause. The organisers expect the walkers travelling the full distance to pledge to raise Rs 200 000, a segment walker to raise Rs 30 000 and a single day walker to raise Rs. 5000.

The project also allows volunteers who are unable to physically join the cause to participate in the journey as virtual walkers by donating Rs. 10 000 online at www.trailsl.com.

All funds collected will cover logistical expenses and further add to the overall fund to build the cancer ward. Additional events will be held in selected cities and towns as the journey makes its way across the country.

Sarinda Unamboowe one of the initiators of TRAIL said “this initiative fills a vital missing place in the country’s national healthcare infrastructure, we are committed to enhance the cancer treatment facilities in Sri Lanka and this walk will build the awareness and funding for it.”

Aravinda De Silva also a part of this move to raise funds for the cancer ward said he will donate Rs. 250,000 in memory of his father who had been diagnosed with cancer some years ago. Aravinda De Silva is also the first person to register on the website to be a part of this movement.

The walk is planned along populous areas in the country where the organisers expect to have more people involved and thus create more awareness and hype for this cause thus in turn hoping that will let more people get involved in the part in various ways of support.

The organisers also invite creative ways of being sponsored during the walk as they may wear a particular t-shirt for a certain amount of donation or get paid for every kilo of weight lost during the walk.

Colours of Courage Trust

FOUNDED in 2008 the Colours of Courage Trust is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to developing infrastructure to treat cancer in Sri Lanka. Previous projects of the Colours of Courage Trust focused on the National Cancer Institute in Maharagama, the only cancer treatment facility for the whole of Sri Lanka and the patients entrusted to its care. The Colours of Courage Trust at present is building a medical ICU at the National Cancer Institute.