‘Around the Pearl’ journey comes to a successful end in Colombo

Friday, 25 April 2014 02:20 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The 12 cyclists who participated in the ‘Around the Pearl’ initiative were received by family, friends and supporters at Independence Square and thereafter at the 80 club, where they celebrated the successful completion of their journey around Sri Lanka. After cycling for ten days to raise funds for 1000 wheelchairs for children with Cerebral Palsy, the ‘Around the Pearl’ team completed the final phase of their journey from Chilaw to Colombo. Other cycling enthusiasts participated by joining the team for the final phase of their journey. Around The Pearl update - day 9 & 10
  • Day 9: Wilpattu-Colombo (122 km)
  • Day 10: Chilaw-Colombo (85 km)
Cyclist update: Day 9 and 10: We left Wilpattu in the early hours of the morning and cycled past the ancient ruins of Anuradhapura onwards to Puttalam. Puttalam is also home to some of the largest lagoons in the country and is famous for salt production, cement production and shrimp farming. We then cycled onwards to the town of Chilaw and passed the Hindu temple of Munneswaram. Every year, hundreds of devotees flock to Chilaw to observe the Munneswaram Festival which is a vibrant celebration that takes place throughout the entire town. We were extremely happy that our cycling enthusiasts joined us along the final phase of our journey from Chilaw to Colombo. After ten days of gruelling cycling, we reached Colombo with a great sense of relief and accomplishment.   Here’s a quote from Charlene Thuring, the only woman to successfully complete the challenging ‘Around the Pearl’ Journey: “I feel truly honoured and proud to have been part of this 10 day painful, mind-changing and challenging journey that will change the lives of at least 1,000 children who are living a painful, mind-changing and challenging life every day.”               The ‘Around the Pearl’ initiative by ‘Wheels for Wheels’ was a 1,427 km bicycle tour around Sri Lanka which was conducted by 12 business professionals, to raise funds for 1,000 wheelchairs to aid children with Cerebral Palsy (CP). The team comprised of Ajith Fernando, Yasas Hewage, Jehan Bastian, Suren Abeysuriya, Dushmantha Jayasinghe, Annudatta Dias, Peter Bluck, Sanjay Mendis, Gihan Hemachandra, Ravi Weerapperuma, Sarinda Unamboowe and Charlene Thuring. Charlene was the only woman who participated in the initiative and successfully completed the ten day bicycle ride. The ‘Around the Pearl’ team travelled around the entire island from Colombo to Weligama, Hambantota, Arugam Bay, Passikudah, Nilaveli, Kilinochchi, Point Pedro, Jaffna, Mannar, Puttalam and many more destinations. At each stop, the team conducted road safety sessions as part of the WrooM project. WrooM focuses on promoting cycling in Sri Lanka as an alternative transport mode and the project also aims to increase awareness of public road safety rules amongst cyclists and motorists. Individuals and businesses are still invited to support the ‘Around the Pearl’ initiative by visiting the website (www.aroundthepearl.lk) and making a donation. Each wheelchair costs approximately $ 100 and the goal of the ‘Around the Pearl’ initiative is to raise enough funds for 1,000 wheelchairs. A wheelchair can provide a greater quality of life for sufferers of Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is the term for a group of non-progressive disorders of movement and posture caused by abnormalities or damage to the motor control centres of the brain. CP is a significant health concern in Sri Lanka and is highly stigmatised. The number of children with Cerebral Palsy is as high as 8-10 per 1,000 births in Sri Lanka while it is as low as 6 per 1,000 births in the developed world. Cerebral Palsy is one of the most common childhood disabilities and there are an estimated 40,000 children with Cerebral Palsy in Sri Lanka and 17 million around the world. Many people in Sri Lanka do not have access to adequate funds to care for children with CP and as a result cannot afford to buy wheelchairs for them. A simple wheelchair can provide a sufferer of CP with greater mobility and freedom, enabling them to enjoy a more fulfilling life. The ‘Around the Pearl’ initiative by ‘Wheels for Wheels’ was conducted in partnership with the Cerebral Palsy Lanka Foundation (CPLF) and WrooM. Sponsors and partners of the initiative include Janashakthi Insurance, Orient Finance, CAL, Jetwing Hotels, Wijeya Newspapers, Blinking Bikes, Shift and Leo Burnett. To support the ‘Around the Pearl’ initiative and help children suffering from Cerebral palsy, please visit www.aroundthepearl.lk and make a donation.