Once a brilliant student of Monash University now bedridden in the prime of youth
W. Nawarathna attending to Harshani Pix Sumudu Hewapathirana
- On the second day after her return she began to shiver in pain while lying on her back
Studious playful, healthy and pretty during her schooldays, Harshani Kumari Nawarathna today spends her life confined to a bed since her arrival in the country in 2005 after studying in Monash University in Australia.
She was doing her undergraduate studies in Australia successfully for years till she noticed some abnormality, first in her hand which later developed over the body, with time.
She was born in 1981 as the daughter of W. Nawarathna (Her father) and Jayanthi Perera (her mother).
She received her primary education at Homagama Janadipathy Vidyalaya. When she was preparing for the grade 5 Scholarship Examination her father - a police officer- was suffering for sometime from injuries sustained after falling from a storeyed building.
Amidst the difficulties befallen on her family, little Harshani was able to succeed at the examination with the guidance of her parents; specially from her ailing father. Later she got admission to Anula Vidyalaya in Nugegoda.
Admired as a bright and smart student during her school days in Anula Vidyalaya she was able to obtain 10 A passes at the GCE Ordinary Level Examination.
Five foot 6” inch tall Harshani, endowed with leadership skills, was so healthy at the school. She had carried a fellow student, who had collapsed and fell on the ground, in her arms and climbed to third floor of the school building, according to her friends. She had also spent three sleepless days attending to the funeral activities when her grandmother died. These acts show her ability to endure and cope with any difficult situation. She is also an animal lover. She had often carried small biscuit packets to feed the dogs and cats she met on her way to school. Animals too are very responsive to her kindness and showed their gratitude to her.
As a young student Harshani had a dream to become a genetic specialist.
Though the Nawarathnas are from a lower middle class family the parents could arrange everything to sent her daughter to Monash University in Australia mortgaging their properties and borrowing from relations and friends.
While studying in Australia she was often thoughtful of her parents and never forget to speak to her mother every evening. She even told her mother about the young boys who had shown interest in her.
Once her father had asked her to send him a photo of an apple flower. And soon the father received a photo of an apple flower with the verse - Oba apple malak wage - a popular Sinhala song written overleaf.
One day when Harshani was a few months away from her final year in the Monash University, she spoke to her mother and told her about some weakness in her body.
“I dropped my pen and I could not pick it up. I also found the mouse of the computer failing to move as I wished’ she continued about the abnormalities experienced regarding her body.
“A few days later she told that she swayed while walking on the street with two friends and leaned against some boys. This was unintentional, but that boy said that I was a foolish girl,”she recalled.
After the final examination she was preparing to return to Sri Lanka and asked the mother to arrange a “Bodhi pooja” with the participation of her grandmother to invoke the blessings of Gods.
On the second day after her return she began to shiver in pain while lying on her back showing symptoms of epilepsy.
Her condition was diagnosed to have been developed as a result of the measles germ contacting the brain cells.
Confined to a bed for 13 years
Harshani, once a brilliant student, is now bed-ridden and unable to utter a single word and take food naturally.
For 13 she has been confined to a bed. Many certificates that tell us about her talents and skills during schooldays lie on a table in her room.
Now only liquid food is given to her through tubes and doctors have prescribed two kinds of milk food. One is isogal produced in Germany and the other is Pro gain. Harshani’s mother says they do not expect money, but if anyone can provide these milk foods and a hygienic towel for the daughter they’d much appropriate them.
Harshani’s father, now at the age of seventy, says they endure great mental pressure because of her daughter’s condition. “After my death it would be a heavy burden for my wife to look after the daughter. And it is still worse when thinking of the future of the child after the death of both of us,”said her father.
He said that they are even ready to donate their house and other properties to any individual or an institute who can assure to secure the future of this child.
Donations may be sent to the credit of Account
No 1355338- Bank of Ceylon Homagama Branch, W.A.H.K. Nawarathna, No. 25, Pragathi Mawatha, Homagama