Karunawathi is her name.
It means "The Compassionate woman"
Her full name is Manthrie Dewage Karunawathi. She is 59 years old and lives in Galewela in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, just off the Colombo – Anuradhapura road.
She is suffering from a very rare disease which has deprived her of the left half of her face, including the left eye and the left ear. The muscles have decayed and the left part of the lips also have been decayed exposing her teeth.
Until September 28th 2010, she had been leading a very normal life and had been a healthy lady who worked in a quarry, to find money in order to meet her day to day expenses. With her earnings, she also met the education expenses of her only son, who was studying in the University reading for the Degree of Performing Arts during that time. Her husband had passed away in the year 2008.
On that fateful day this dreaded disease commenced, she had fainted, subsequently showing symptoms of paralysis. The neighbours have rushed her to the Galewela Hospital. Since they could not control the vomiting of the patient they had admitted her to the Kurunegala Hospital. The next day a swelling has developed in the left side of her face, and the following day the entire left area of her face became red. After two days the swelling started subsiding and simultaneously the muscles of the left side of the face started decaying. The left eye and the left ear had started shrinking appearing similar to dried leaves. After keeping Karunawathi in the Kurunegala Hospital for two months the hospital authorities had transferred her to Colombo, as they could not diagnose the disease. In the Colombo Hospital they found that the entire area of the left side of her face had been infected and after one month they took her in for an operation and removed the accumulated pus content and also the left eye and the left ear. After two months she was discharged on the 30th December 2010.
At present Karunawathi's only child Susantha Amarasingha (he is also being called Suranga) who is a graduate of 25 years is looking after his mother all by himself. He is at the moment sacrificing his entire life to look after his mother. The work involves, removing the Catheters, dressing the wounds, bathing her, cooking and feeding his mother all of which is done entirely by him. Although he has been given a teaching appointment by the Government of Sri Lanka, he has not accepted as he is unable to leave his mother unattended. He is engaged in doing some private classes to about 30 students, from which he earns an income hardly sufficient for the medicinal expenses of the mother and their day to day living.
The living standards of Susantha (Suranga) is very low. The house is half built. There are no proper doors or windows. The floor is not done.
The only richness that Susantha (Suranga) posseses is his courage. Although life has treated him with many short comings, of a horrendous and unusual nature he has not lost faith in himself. He gives the best for his mother within his limited means. The fortitude and the equilibrium this young man shows is admirable. He has no life of his own as the care and treatment of his mother dominates his time, resources and energy. In the face of this adversity, Susantha (Suranga) remains unshaken.