Retired Major Ruvan Ranatunga of the Sri Lankan army embarked on a mission on May 30, 2013 — walk the length of the island of Sri Lanka to raise much needed funds for two charities looking after cancer patients.
A little more than a month, thousands of rupees, and more than 750 kilometres later, Ranatunga completed the journey.
Ranatunga began his trek in Dondra in southern Sri Lanka and ended on July 7, 2013 in Point Pedro, located in the extreme north of the country. His target was to raise 1.5 million rupees (11,500 US dollars) by the end of his walk, though according to the report his Long Walk of Hope fell 700,000 short of his target.
The money raised by The Long Walk Of Hope will be used in two charities: The Courage Compassion Commitment (CCC) Foundation and The Colours of Courage Trust.
Ranatunga wrote on Facebook when he finished his walk:
Even though the walk has ended there remains the core component of this great journey yet to be fulfilled. The funds have come in slowly and steadily and thank you all for your generosity.
He explained his reasons for his mission as the following:
Hi, I’m Ruvan Ranatunga, and I’ve been nurturing this passion to walk across my country. Having served in the Army for fourteen years and walked in many parts of the country including some of the operational areas of the North and East during my tenure it is seemed timely to embark on this exiting journey for a different reason. But “The Long Walk of Hope” is not just about living my dream; it’s bigger than that. I believe that to have lived, we have to reach outside ourselves and touch the lives of others in whatever capacity we can. Therefore, I want to combine that with my passion to trek– providing a ray of hope for those suffering from cancer.
How? Your pledges along my trek will go directly into funding the CCC House, a 188-‐bed cancer transit home for outpatients at the National Cancer Institute in Maharagama in the South, and to the Colours of Courage Pediatric Cancer Ward which is under construction at Thelippalai in the North of Sri Lanka.
My walk of hope is also in a sense my quest for peace. I plan to walk through the many shades of people, races, religions, happiness and poverty that make up this country.
Blogger and entrepreneur Indrajit Samarajiva commented:
The walk is to raise funds for cancer (you can donate here) and it’s also pretty awesome in its own right. I’ve been following his Facebook feed and he’s seen and experienced things that you just pass through when traveling from point to point. It’s an inspiring and interesting story.
Ruvan shared the equipment he took on his 39-day adventure in a YouTube video:
Watch his video diary on YouTube for the proceedings of the walk.
Later on his journey family and friends also joined him. Smriti Daniel wrote in the Sunday Times:
They climbed mountains, and cut through rain forests, wound their way through tea plantations and stopped for a dip in every lake, lagoon, or well on the way. At night, they often relied on the kindness of strangers – sleeping in a little kade’s store room, in a temple hall, on a verandah or in someone’s home. In doing so, they found the Sri Lanka Ruvan knew was there all along – a land of staggering natural beauty, its people so very different yet all capable of extraordinary generosity.