On this year’s Children’s Day, the Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians (SLCP) and a group of supporters launched Little Hearts, a campaign aimed at raising over Rs. 2 billion for the construction of the Critical Care Complex of the Lady Ridgway Hospital for Children.
Lady Ridgeway Hospital (LRH) is the country’s largest public hospital for children and the only tertiary care referral centre for children with congenital heart disease (CHD) and critical illnesses in the country. However, this Colombo-based hospital has been struggling to provide timely care to all children in need.
Thousands of children suffering from CHD and other critical illnesses are waitlisted for treatment annually due to the hospital’s limited capacity. Most of them must await treatment for months and even years on end, stranded in hospital beds or placed under primitive home care.
With every passing day these children’s chances of recovery lessen and some succumb to the illness before their turn for treatment comes.
Dr. Duminda Samarasinghe, one of LRH’s paediatric cardiologists, emphasised the urgency of bringing this project to life, claiming that the consequences of the long waitlists are even graver than they appear.
“What we often overlook are the families of these little ones,” said Dr. Samarasinghe. “They give up everything to save their child, they stay by their side day and night, they lose jobs, they mortgage their homes, they move mountains and sometimes lose everything. That shouldn’t be our reality.”
SLCP, with their devoted network of supporters, hopes to change the fates of thousands of critically ill children and their families in just a couple of years. Some estimates suggest that the Critical Care Complex will save over 200,000 children’s lives over the first 20 years of its service.
One of the supporters of this cause, former national cricketer Kumar Sangakkara, is confident that “together we can build an institution that will nurture and serve our children for generations to come.”
“No parent ever dreams that their child would suffer from a [critical] illness, so by contributing to this project, we are ensuring the wellbeing of our own children as well,” Sangakkara added.”That is a cause worth investing our hearts and minds into.”
Those who wish to support the Little Hearts campaign can opt for different donation options fit for every pocket. These range from a monthly SMS subscription of as little as Rs. 100 and bank transactions of Rs. 10,000 to sponsorships of ICU beds and operating theaters.
The Little Hearts’ organising committee also welcomes individuals, organisations and companies that wish to help grow the campaign by contributing their skills and creativity.
SLCP President Dr. Ramya de Silva expressed gratitude to the contributors and invited everyone to join the cause.
“We have been deeply moved by the support people have given us so far,” said Dr. de Silva. “Now we need to include our entire nation and give them a chance to lend a hand to our little ones in need.”
SLCP President-Elect Dr. LakKumar Fernando concluded the launch of Little Hearts on a hopeful note.
“If we all join hands today, we can build the future in which every child receives the help they need, when they need it,” said Dr. Fernando. “Only that way will all of our children have an equal opportunity at a healthy and happy life.”
The Little Hearts campaign is now officially launched. All who are interested in donating and contributing to the cause can find more information on the Little Heart’s official website www.LittleHearts.lk.
The following are the official bank account details of Little Hearts:
Bank: Bank of Ceylon, Borella branch
Account Name: Little Hearts
Account Number: 79738633