01/03/2020, 18.32
SRI LANKA
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Catholic university students visit sick children in Colombo during Christmas celebrations

by Melani Manel Perera

A group of students visited the Apeksha (Hope) Cancer Hospital in Maharagama. “We wanted to share the joy of the birth of our Saviour with a group of real fighters, struggling desperately against cancer,” said one student. For the patients, “every day the hope is to wake up alive. For the parents of those little children, every day the hope is to see their children alive,” said another.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – A group of Catholic university students in Colombo celebrated Christmas differently this year, sharing the joy of Christ's birth with children living with cancer.

“Spending time and listening to people in need has given Christmas a much deeper meaning than having gun or parties,” they told AsiaNews.

The students belong to the Catholic Students Movement (CSM) at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, in the Colombo metro area.

Group coordinator Chrishmali Peter said that the members met on 29 December at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences where they decided to go to the nearest hospital, the Apesksha Cancer Hospital in Maharagama.

“We all wanted to spend a quality day and make the needy happy, in accordance with the Christmas spirit during university meetings,” he said.

Peter said that they chose the Apesksha (Hope) Hospital because it had “children with cancer.” This “is very important because most of them are hopeless.”

Still, for the patients, “every day the hope is to wake up alive. For the parents of those little children, every day the hope is to see their children alive. We felt the need to give them a simple smile and a little happiness.”

The students raised some money and bought gifts for the children, including towels, cups, perfumes and fruit. Before handing them out, they sang Christmas carols. “Some asked us to sing for them again. We fulfilled their wish wholeheartedly,” Peter said.

Authorised by the hospital, they brought joy and hope to the wards. “We wanted to share the joy of the birth of our Saviour with a group of real fighters, struggling desperately against cancer,” said CSM deputy president Chamodh Samarasekara, an engineering student.

“This event will last forever in our memory,” he said. “We saw genuine and pure smiles on their faces and great cheers for the carols we sang.”

“The short time spent in their company, sharing the gifts, was so emotional and touching that it made us reflect about ourselves. At the end of the day, we left the hospital happier than when we arrived, with a lot of memories.”

For Peter, Samarasekara and the others, the children “touched our heart with their love. We wish them all a speedy recovery and to their loved ones we wish them to have the strength to be with them in such difficult moments.”

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