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October 20, 2017
Devi Balika Sponsored Walk in Aid of Little Hearts Foundation
Every year Devi Balika PPA (UK) organises a sponsored walk to raise funds for a national project in Mother Lanka. This year, Little Hearts Foundation, which is monitored by Sri Lankan College of Paediatricians, was our chosen project.

The Lady Ridgeway Hospital for children is a tertiary care referral centre for children with congenital heart disease and other critical illnesses. With limited capacity, it is a real struggle to provide timely care for children with critical illnesses like Dengue fever and other acute diseases. Over 60% of critically ill children do not have immediate access for their life-saving treatment. The mission of Little Hearts Foundation is to construct a Cardiac & Critical care Complex with an adequate number of operating theatres, intensive care beds and other facilities to provide timely and appropriate treatment for children with heart disease and critical illnesses in Sri Lanka. This huge building is being built in the grounds of Lady Ridgeway hospital with the help of Sri Lankan forces.

We Devians gathered on the 13th September morning at Regent's Park in London with enthusiasm, to raise funds by walking 6 miles. Before the walk we sat down in the cafe and warmed ourselves with a cup of tea. As it was the end of the summer, the temperature was ideal for walking and the sun was shining.

We were welcomed by the fragrance of beautiful roses and by butterflies. Our hearts were heavy after the recent departure of our loving principal Mrs Zoysa but we tried to smile and were determined to reach our target as loyal students of our dear principal.

Our group leader, Dr Harshi Boralessa, was a good map reader, and led the walk, which took us around a beautiful water fountain and on towards to Primrose Hill.

We were stopped from time to time by our joint secretary and photographer Mrs Karu Somasiri but we made up time by jogging instead of walking. On our return, we were given a special treat by Dr Janaka de Silva - a delicious ice cream. We did not feel one bit tired after our long walk, as the group was cheerful and energetic. At the end of the walk, a picnic with a variety of sandwiches, wade, cutlets, cakes and drinks was enjoyed by everyone.

Our fundraising was a huge success and we were so happy with the collection. We sincerely thank everyone who sponsored us.

The committee decided to donate the funds raised in the name of Mrs Zoysa, and thus pass the merits of this act to make her present life comfortable, and shorten her journey of Samsara ending in Nibbana.

The committee also decided to have a traditional Mal Pahan Puja at the temple, in memory of Mrs Zoysa. On the 7th October, we gathered at London Buddhist Vihara. The Ven. Seelawimala and the other residential monks conducted the Puja and chanted pirith. The vice president of our association, Mrs Chandanie Ranathunga, gave a beautiful tribute to Mrs Zoyza talking about how during her long service of over three decades, Mrs Zoysa ensured that Devi Balika remained one of the best schools in the island. This was followed by a heartfelt tribute from our joint secretary, Mrs Ruki Wijayasinghe. Using anecdotes, Ruki summed up how she admired Mrs Zoysa’s loving nature and teaching skills in the class room. She also read out a message from Mrs Indrani Peries, one of the first students of Devi Balika, who was unable to attend.

It was good to see so many Devians and family members joining us in this event. We hope that the readers of this write-up will support Little Heart Foundation to save the little hearts in Sri Lanka. Please visit www.LittleHearts.lk/donation to contribute.

Dr. Malathie Peiris
Consultant Anaesthetist with Special interest in paediatric anaesthesia
Luton and Dunstable University Hospital
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