Three mercy mission medics from England rode their hearts out on an epic 750km bike marathon through Sri Lanka in aid of the Little Hearts project at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital in the capital Colombo.

The doctors, all cardiac specialists, and colleagues joined the ‘Colombo Team’ to raise money to save the lives of thousands of Sri Lankan children with congenital heart defects.

The aim of Cardic Cycle Lanka—“a mission with a heart”—was to bring the group of medical friends and colleagues together, many of whom had not been on a bike for 20 years.

The Mission? To raise money for Little Hearts by cycling from the southernmost to the northernmost tip of Sri Lanka—from Dondra to Point Pedro via Sri Lanka’s East Coast.

The ride was officially launched at the Academic Sessions of the Sri Lanka Heart Association, with Brits Divaka Perera, Rob Daniels, Michael Marber, Peter O’Kane and Shamindra Perera.

They were joined by ‘Colombo team’ members Manju Sirimane, Channa Daswatte, Roshan Rajapakshe and Sanjay Kulatunga.

Sunday Times Kumudini Hettiarachchi reports: “Everything was well-planned, or so they thought, to the last detail. As they set off, there was not only purposeful commitment and determination, for they had come from half a world away to cycle from Sri Lanka’s south to north, to help keep the diseased hearts of little ones beating.”

But they made it—even with a roadside encounter with a wild elephant! “The stretch was from Kataragama to Buttala on the jungle-fringed B-35 Road and they were literally sailing along in their vibrant attire and helmets in the early morn, when suddenly something caught their eye.

“Stopped short in their tracks, they held a whispered consultation—should they whiz past at high speed on their cycles or dismount and tiptoe quietly past?

“It was a wild elephant leisurely foraging by the side of the road! They dared not ride speedily past, so they “gingerly” walked past the “magnificent chap.”

In England, three of them are hearts doctors—Dr Perera, originally from Sri Lanka, is an Interventional Cardiologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital London; Prof Marber is Professor of Cardiology at King’s College London; and Dr O’Kane is an Interventional Cardiologist at Royal Bournemouth Hospital. Dr. Daniels is a GP in Devon and Shamindra, brother of Dr. Perera, is a fund manager in London.

In the ‘Colombo team’, Sanjay is Chairman of Lynear Wealth Management, one of the sponsors of Cardiac Cycle Lanka; Channa is a well-known architect; and Manju, a lawyer.

Writes Kumudini: “It is because hearts are their passion that they wanted to do something more than the good work of healing hearts in England and launched ‘Cardiac Cycle Lanka’ to raise funds for the Little Hearts Project, a Sri Lanka government-approved charitable initiative of the Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians and also the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to help the international fight against heart disease.”

Read more here.

Meanwhile, Little Hearts Sri Lanka Project Chairperson and Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist Dr Duminda Samarasinghe has appealed to donors to send their contributions to the Bank of Ceylon Account No. 79738633 with the Account Name: ‘Little Hearts’ at the Borella branch. Secure online donations may also be made through the website: www.littlehearts.lk.

The vision is a dedicated 10-storey state-of-the-art building for children with heart trouble as well as other severe illnesses and the target is to collect Rs2 billion.

Read more here.

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