Western Provincial Councillor Malsha Kumaratunga said today she did not take up the “Ice Bucket” challenge to gain publicity but she was happy that she was able to open the eyes of the people of Sri Lanka to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) which was not talked of earlier.
“I did not even think of getting publicity but it came unexpectedly. I did it as it was a good deed to help combat a fatal disease, she said.
Ms. Kumaratunga said she would not let this talk about ALS be forgotten but would discuss the subject with the health minister to help persons afflicted by the disease.
She said several who were afflicted by ALS had telephoned her after seeing her video and thanked her for her good deed as no one had talked about the disease before.
“One lady named Salgado phoned me and invited me to see her husband who was suffering from ALS. I went there myself and witnessed the agony the family was going through. I realised that I had done the correct thing to draw peoples’ attention to this disease which had been a secret so far, she said.
Responding to a question about whether it was waste of water to take up such a challenge, she said one who took up the challenge did not waste water, but some Opposition MPs who bathed in swimming pools alleged that it was a waste of water.
She said some alleged that they donated money to foreign countries through this, but it was donated for a good cause like research work to find a cure for ALS. “Medicines for AIDS and cancer were not discovered in Sri Lanka, but Sri Lankans benefited from the medicines. So when a cure is found for ALS it will help Sri Lankans as well”, she said. (Ajith Siriwardana and Indika Sri Aravinda)