In a touching and emotional event that celebrated the spirit of resilience and unity, the National Center Caritas Sri Lanka commemorated the International Thalassemia Day on the 08th of May 2023. This event served as a platform for raising awareness about Thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder, while also highlighting the importance of community support for affected families. The gathering brought together compassionate individuals, a medical professional Dr. Marsh Muthuthamby, and courageous Thalassemia family members, all sharing their experiences and inspiring hope for a brighter future.

The morning mass was led by the Bishop of Anuradhapura, Rt. Rev. Dr. Nobert Audradi, Rev. Fr Luke Nelson, National Director of Caritas Sri Lanka and Rev. Fr. Thusitha Priyangana, Director of Janasetha Kurunegala, Rev. Fr. Dilan Marius, Director of Caritas SEDEC Chilaw. The event began with the opening remarks by Mrs. Sithumini.  She emphasized the significance of empathy, understanding, and collective responsibility in supporting Thalassemia families. Her words touched the audience, setting a compassionate and empowering atmosphere for the rest of the event.

The National Director of the National Center Caritas Sri Lanka, Rev. Fr. Luke Nelson graced the stage, warmly welcoming all participants and expressing gratitude for their presence. In his address, he highlighted the organization’s unwavering commitment to addressing the challenges faced by Thalassemia-affected individuals and their families. The Welcome Note further emphasized the importance of community-driven initiatives in fostering inclusivity and spreading awareness about Thalassemia.

Dr. Marsh Muthuthamby, a highly respected expert in the field of Thalassemia, shared valuable insights and information about the diseaese. His presentation provided attendees with a comprehensive understanding of Thalassemia, including its causes, symptoms, available treatment options, and ongoing research. Dr. Muthuthamby’s expertise and dedication to the cause highlighted the importance of continuous education and the need for innovative approaches to combat Thalassemia.

Ms. Evanjalina, the national coordinator for the Mitigation of  Thalassemia programme at Caritas Sri Lanka, took the stage to shed light on the organization’s initiatives in supporting Thalassemia-affected families. She outlined the CSL Thalassemia Project funded by Miseoroer, which encompasses comprehensive medical assistance, livelihood support, emotional support and creating awareness for both patients and their families. Her presentation highlighted Caritas Sri Lanka’s unwavering commitment to improving the lives of those affected by Thalassemia.

Experience sharing by a Thalassemia Family Member Mrs. Parvathi, a courageous parent of a Thalassemia patient shared her personal journey and experiences living with two children with Thalassemia. Her poignant narrative touched the hearts of the audience, shedding light on the challenges faced by Thalassemia patients and the immense strength they exhibit in overcoming adversity. Parvathi’s story served as a reminder of the resilience and determination that exist within Thalassemia-affected families.

Experience Sharing by Dinethmi a 18 year old girl, another inspiring little girl currently completing her Advanced levels shared her own experiences and challenges encountered on her Thalassemia journey. Her account highlighted the importance of emotional support and the power of unity within families and communities. Dinethmi’s heartfelt story resonated with the attendees, further emphasizing the need for compassion and solidarity in the face of Thalassemia.

The event concluded with the distribution of essential dry ration packs, stationary packs, and souvenirs to all the participating families, symbolizing our support and solidarity.

To commemorate this significant day, we also printed an informative bookmark as an Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) material to raise awareness about the Thalassemia disease.

In conclusion, today has been a momentous occasion filled with reflection, heightened awareness, and a strong sense of unity, as we stand united in the battle against Thalassemia. Let us carry the knowledge and inspiration we have gained from this event and channel our efforts towards making a positive impact on the lives of those affected by this condition. We firmly believe that this day will be engraved in the memories of all participants, especially the families coping with this disease. Furthermore, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to Misereor for their unwavering support and solidarity, which has played a vital role in making this event a resounding success.