A lifeline for the Heart To Heart Trust Fund | Daily News

A lifeline for the Heart To Heart Trust Fund

Tribute to Mauri Antoinette Clare Sendapperuma

‘Mighty of Heart, mighty of mind, magnanimous - to be this, is indeed to be great in life’ sums up the life of Mauri Antoinette Clare Sendapperuma.

We were elated beyond words when we were informed that a Sri Lankan domiciled in Australia had left over AUD 94,820 (over Rs. 13 million) in her last will to be donated to the Heart To Heart Trust Fund. To us, who have been involved in the journey of the Trust Fund and experienced the joys and the sorrows of people who would give anything to have a second chance at life, Sendapperuma’s generosity was like being touched by an angel.

Born on March 31, 1954, in Colombo, Mauri was educated at Good Shepherd Convent, Colombo, and was an accountant by profession. Her young days had been spent joyfully in the service of the Lord in her church, St. Lucia’s Cathedral, until 1989, when she migrated to Melbourne, Australia, where she worked for leading corporates in the energy industry. Mauri passed away on December 11, 2019, following complications from Heart Aortic Valve Replacement surgery.

In a true mark of greatness, Mauri had given up a successful career to take up volunteer work, doing so at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. According to her family, she had always looked forward to her volunteering days, and often talked about how giving her time to the hospital fulfilled her, and that she felt as though she was part of a close family.

Mauri has ensured that kindness and generosity extended beyond her earthly life. And by giving back to her country, she has given hope to individuals suffering from heart-related diseases and seeking a new lease in life. We at the Heart To Heart Trust Fund know not how Mauri came to know of us and our work with individuals suffering from heart diseases. But this we know – that Mauri had an open heart and a love that represented the God she served since she was a child.

The Heart to Heart Trust Fund is a Charitable Trust functioning under the patronage of the Head of State - the President, and co-founded by leading Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon Dr. Rajitha Y. de Silva and his mentor the eminent Senior Consultant Cardiologist, Dr. Ruvan Ekanayaka, who are guided by a Board of Trustees, made up of an eminent group of persons, and a beautiful group of individuals who have wholeheartedly volunteered to support and execute the good cause with the objective that ‘nobody should die or suffer from heart diseases due to financial difficulties in this country.’

The Board of Trustees is composed of both medical and non-medical persons who represent various professional fields such as law, medicine, diplomacy, corporate business and the social sciences.

Representing the medical field on the Board are:Dr. Ruvan Ekanayaka, Senior Consultant Cardiologist, Dr. Rajitha Y. De Silva, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Dr.Aruna Kapuruge, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Dr. Mahendra Munasinghe,Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Dr.Kanishka Indraratne, Consultant Cardiac Anaesthetist,Dr.Kumudini Ranatunga, Senior Consultant Cardio-thoracic Anaesthetist and Intensivist, NHSL Prof.S.D.Jayaratne, the Chairman, Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital (Ex-Officio).

The non-medical persons representing other disciplines and professions on the Board are Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala, former UN Under-Secretary-General, Palitha Fernando PC,former Attorney General, Arunashantha De Silva PC, Former Legal Draftsman,Mahendra Amarasuriya, Senior Banker, Philanthropist and Former International President, Lions Club International 2007/08,Dr. Kumari Jayawardena, Author/Social Worker, Sudath Tennakoon, Chairman, Central Bearings,Lt. Gen. (retd.) Jagath Dias, former Chief of Staff, Sri Lanka Army, Sunimal Fernando, Senior Sociologist,Deshamanya Ajita De Zoysa, Chairman of Kalutara Bodhi Trust and Musaeus College, Kumar Sangakkara, Captain Sri Lanka Cricket 2009-2011 and President of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) who also guides the Trust Fund while representing diverse fields of specialisation.

When somebody is having a heart disease is a matter of life and death where a price tag is attached to his or her life. The fact that Mauri recognised the work of the Trust Fund among those in need of critical treatment but are unable to obtain timely intervention due to financial difficulties shows that she has been following our work closely. She definitely knew the importance of lending a helping hand to patients, because in Australia, all health services including complex cardiac procedures are provided free to all, irrespective of income and social status.

Over the initial six and half year period, we have been able to save more than 300 lives. These are individuals who have undergone various procedures and have been eventually reunited with their families and society, and are today living normal and fruitful lives. The surgical procedures carried out included CABG (Bypass surgery), cardiac surgeries, and procedures to insert stents and pacemakers, which were carried out at the Sri Jayewardenapura General Hospital as well as in other hospitals in the last few years and its accounts are annually audited by M/s Ernst and Young. Being a Trust Fund, ensuring transparency of our operations at all levels and maintaining a high level of integrity are a virtue held high and we trust that our impeccable track record has been an immense help for our success thus far.

We believe strongly that “prevention is better than cure”, hence part of our endeavour at the Heart To Heart Trust Fund is to teach and educate people whenever possible to embrace a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce the incidents of heart disease. We target all age groups, but children are a vital group of our focus, as growing up, they can make choices to live healthily. Therefore, we focus a great deal on disseminating knowledge on the importance of prevention.

Given the yeoman service rendered by the Trust Fund thus far, Mauri’s generosity to the present, gives hope to the future; to the future of not just the individual who benefits from her kindness, but the dependents who will bless her name many times as they receive their loved one back into their fold in a state of restored health.

Although we at the Heart To Heart Trust Fund did not know Mauri during her lifetime, her memory will remain with us and we will bless her name each time we think of her when we save a life.

As we appreciate the generosity of a Sri Lankan, and remember the countless who have supported the Trust Fund for so many years, in numerous ways, we know that none of them expected anything in return, and in giving, none of them became poor, but became richer in compassion and humanity.

“Before giving, the mind of the giver is happy; while giving, the mind of the giver is made peaceful; and having given, the mind of the giver is uplifted” - Gautama Buddha

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says “do good, lend, and expect nothing in return and your reward will be great” (6:35), and indeed we know that Mauri’s reward in heaven is great as she has been received with great joy by her Creator who would have welcomed her saying “Come to me….I will give you rest” (Mathew 11:28).

May her soul Rest in Peace.

(Email: [email protected], Website: www.heart2hearttrust.org)