Trail To 'Walk, Unite, Heal' | Daily News

Trail To 'Walk, Unite, Heal'

TRAIL Co-Founders Sarinda Unamboowe and  Nathan Sivagananathan


TRAIL, Sri Lanka's largest ever crowd-funded charitable initiative that saw the raising of US $2.2M in 2011 for the construction of the nation's second specialized cancer hospital in Jaffna, is set to resume again with the announcement to 'Walk, Unite, Heal' in October 2016 with the new goal of building a US $5M hospital in Galle.

The news was announced by TRAIL founders Nathan Sivagananathan and Sarinda Unamboowe who hosted by the The Colours of Courage Trust (a trust supporting Trail and other national initiatives against cancer) at Warehouse D, Park Street Mews.

"Our walk from Dondra Head to Point Pedro in 2011 really was nothing short of life changing. We learned so much about our country, its people and ourselves. As we completed that first journey, we turned to each other with the same thought - that we must next walk for our brothers and sisters in the south. Now the time has come to make it happen - let us again 'Walk. Unite. Heal.", the founders said.

They also shared that they were overwhelmed by the encouragement they have already received for a second Trail from supporters at home and abroad including, most prominently from President Maithripala Sirisensa - who had supported the cause previously and declared open the Trail Tellipalai Cancer Hospital in Jaffna in January 2014. Previous Trail ambassadors Kumar Sangakarra and Mahela Jayawardena have already recommitted to the cause, pledging to walk the full length of the journey in 2016.

Trail 2016 will see walkers beginning the route at Point Pedro and head towards Dondra Head over the duration of 28 days with walkers covering around 23km a day. Participants can sign up to walk at their ability - joining for one day, 3 days, the whole walk or even join as a virtual walker. Registration details and monetary or in-kind donations towards Trail in 2016 can be found on the organization's newly refreshed website -

The event saw a gathering and recognition of the previous 12 Trail Blazers - the men and women who completed the entire 2011 walk. Trail's local and international celebrity ambassadors include Jacqueline Fernandez, Otara Gunewardene, Yureni Noshika and Natalie & Nadiya Anderson (of Amazing Race and Survivor fame representing Trail in the US).

The unique launch featured a curate exhibition of photographs taken during the first Trail, as well as photos of the finished hospital. The images tell the story of the over 30,000 people and 300,000 onlookers from all backgrounds that united during the 27 days to walk in whole or in part a distance of 670 km from south to north.

Their participation had being an act of both solidarity against cancer and a demonstration of national unity in the aftermath of the 2009 conclusion of the Sri Lankan civil war.

The Trail hospital in Jaffna includes a 3-ward (including pediatric) building that has treated over 3000 patients from the north and north-east since opening its doors. A new radiotherapy and bracheotherapy treatment center are in process of completion on the site as well.

Perhaps the most poignant part of evening was the highlighting of the generosity of giving that occurred on the road itself. Walkers carried tills all along the route from which almost Rs.10M was raised. Small but significant donations came from children, priests, police officers, CMC staff, farmers and even a man who was homeless.

The founders gave their most special thanks to all those who contributed donations and gifts in kind, including previous and future corporate partners of the event who were present.

They closed the evening looking forward to seeing the initiative expand and inviting everyone to unite and walk with them in 2016 to fight cancer in Sri Lanka.b 

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