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Kumarika steps forward to support cancer patients through Sonduru Diriyawanthi campaign

Kumarika, a leading hair care brand in Sri Lanka has stepped forward with a purpose driven campaign to address the increasing need for natural hair wigs for women who are diagnosed with cancer. The launch of “Sonduru Diriyawanthi” – a national campaign to help support cancer patients, marked the onset of yet another timely initiative by the Kumarika brand who wish to propagate the ideology that every woman is beautiful regardless of appearance. Kumarika launched this initiative together with their partner organizations: Indira Cancer Trust, Lions Clubs of Aluthgama Bentota and Galkissa and with the coordination support of the Sri Lanka College of Oncologists.

The virtual launch was graced by the presence of Dr Sanjeewa Munasinghe – Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Asela Gunawardane- Director General Ministry of Health, Dr Sachini Malaviarachchi, Secretary – Sri Lanka College of Oncologists, Dr Lanka Jayasuriya Dissanayake – Chairperson of Indira Cancer Trust, Past District Governor Lion Chandani Withana and Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson, Executive Director/Group CEO of Hemas Holdings.

Whilst celebrating the beauty of women in all forms, the campaign is looking to donate on request, a care pack for patients who undergo chemotherapy treatment. The care pack will be distributed to patients at the start of their chemotherapy, so that the wig can be prepared and kept to be used as soon as they lose hair, which occurs most commonly within the first two – four weeks of starting chemotherapy. The care pack includes a natural hair wig with an adjustable strap and shoulder length hair, a set of Kumarika products including Kumarika Shampoo & Conditioner, Kumarika Hair serum, Kumarika hair oil and a booklet containing important information for cancer patients.

As the first phase of the campaign, the care packs will be donated to the cancer patients of the National Cancer Institute, Maharagama, National Hospital, Kandy, Provincial General Hospital, Badulla, Teaching Hospital, Karapitiya, Teaching Hospital, Kurunegala, Teaching Hospital, Anuradhapura, Kotelawala Defence University, Base Hospital Thellippalai, Jaffna, Provincial General Hospital, Ratnapura, Teaching Hospital, Batticaloa. It is reported that around 30,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year and the female population accounts for approximately 15,500 new cases. In this background, this initiative will be donating 6000 hair wigs per year, which amounts to nearly half of the number of diagnosed female patients.

While the donation helps to address the hair wig needs of patients, the awareness building of the campaign includes counselling sessions for patients with an aim to encourage, motivate and inspire hope in them, so that they can lead a happy life. Around 80% of cancer patients are required to undergo Chemotherapy treatment that has a possible side effect of hair loss.  A majority of cancer diagnosed women face traumatic situations due to hair loss, which have led them to abandon their comfort zones. Even though most women are willing to undergo treatment, hair loss becomes a major concern for them that holds them back, causing them to shy away from social interaction, relationships, places of worship and more. The emotional trauma is compounded by the reactions of society and family members leading to severe distress. Having understood the need to support these women to march forward, the project “Sonduru Diriyawanthi” will continue to expand hair wig donation and awareness initiatives around the country.

Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella, Minister of Health, thanked Hemas Consumer Brands and the partner organizations for their timely contribution towards the betterment of cancer patients in Sri Lanka. He observed that most patients could not afford a natural hair wig even though they prefer a like-for-like replacement for their lost hair. He commented that, if there was anything that could be done to make them happy, it should be embraced with both hands.

Dr. Sachini Malaviarachchi, Secretary – Sri Lanka College of Oncologists praised all parties for embracing this timely initiative and extended her wishes for the continuity of the project.

Commenting on the “Sonduru Diriyawanthi” campaign, Executive Director/Group CEO of Hemas Holdings – Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson said, “Fighting cancer takes courage and determination. These beautiful and bold women deserve to feel good about themselves as they take on this challenging journey. At Hemas enriching the lives of our communities is in the heart of everything we do, and therefore we feel privileged to be able to reach out to these women and help them tackle a small part of their battle.”

“It is unfortunate to see the rise in cancer cases which has become a serious issue at present. The mental trauma of this illness is something that has sneaked through the attention of the society. For many women, it is a highly challenging period, as they have to grapple with hair loss concern, which hinders their normal life. On behalf of the Indira Cancer Trust, I am truly thankful that we can make this national initiative come to life through the partners who have come together. ”, stated Dr. Lanka Jayasuriya Dissanayake – Chairperson of Indira Cancer Trust.

Past District Governor, Lion Chandani Withana from the Lions Club of Aluthgama, Bentota said, “In keeping with our slogan “Where there is a need, there is a Lion”, we are indeed happy to partner with this national campaign and respond to a major need of women who are diagnosed with cancer. We believe that this timely donation will strengthen their hand, to believe in themselves and lead a normal and happy life with their families, with their due place in society.

Kumarika is a truly Sri Lankan hair care brand of Hemas Consumer brands that continues to drive forth Hemas’s legacy of purpose-led initiatives to uplift the lives of Sri Lankans. The brand prioritizes in supporting the Sri Lankan women to stay beautiful and building a generation of courageous and strong women. Kumarika invites all Sri Lankans to be a part of the discourse to further strengthen women who deserve to face the life’s challenges stronger.

Photo Caption

(L-R) – Ms Azmara Mannan Perera Marketing Manager, Hemas Consumer Brands, Dr Sanjeewa Munasinghe- Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr Asela Gunawardane- Director General Ministry of Health & Ms. Sudeshika Sandamali – Recipient of the First Kumarika Care Pack

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