Ride for Ceylon – uniting & healing the nation

BY: M.H.Yakeem
Ride for Ceylon is part of the U.K. based charity, Friends of Manipay Hospital, which aims to raise funds through an annual charity bike ride for the reconstruction & renovation of the Green Memorial Hospital in Jaffna.
Though it’s primary target is to see this hospital fully functional & providing medical healthcare & expertise of the highest calibre, R4C intends to support the nation as a whole.
Their heart for our island was very evident in 2020.
Now considered one of the biggest & best charity rides in South Asia, the R4C February 2020 bike ride was endorsed & flagged off by Hon Minister Chamal Rajapaksa. Cyclists peddle 481 kilometres every year to raise funds through sponsorship and also awareness of the hospital’s needs.
Seeing the need of many during the pandemic, the charity decided that urgent action was necessary. R4C swiftly coordinated a group of volunteers & with the help of the Sri Lankan police orchestrated a relief package. The group distributed over 7000 ration packs of food, along with a donation of beverages at security checkpoints in and around Colombo.
When Cyclone Burevi struck the north, R4C once again played their part by providing water & cooked food to those affected.
The charity is now well established & supported by its Brand Ambassadors – former Sri Lankan cricketer Russel Arnold, England rugby 7’s player Dan Norton & American endurance rider Jen Orr.
In 2021, the Ride will focus on raising funds to redevelop the hospital’s historic Mission House into a ground breaking cancer care & research facility, named Hope Beyond Cancer.
The ride comprises of around 60 cyclists from around the world. Each with a desire to see this nation flourish on a global front. The popularity and significance of this ride is highlighted by the overwhelming numbers registering for a maximum of 60 places. Once again, the ride has been oversubscribed.
According to Chief Ride Organiser, Nishantha Abeyawardena, though the team has been compelled to postpone the 2021 ride due to Covid 19, from February to 28-31 July, the organisers are still confident that it will go ahead.
The ride captain, Kumar Kalyanakumar, from City Tatts in Sydney, is also optimistic that there will be a good turnout of Australian riders this year if there are no international restrictions.
The ride has proved to be an annual success thanks to the planning & organising of many behind the scenes. In particular, Nishantha would like to mention  Marcelo Veloz and City Tatts in Australia for their constant support and encouragement, the Sri Lankan riders for their hard work & all the cyclists worldwide who give up their time and fly to Sri Lanka to raise funds for the cause. And, of course, the donors and sponsors whose contributions spearhead and finance the project. Behind it all, lies the sure-footed support of Trustees Dr Jayantha Arnold & Mr Anandan Arnold.
Ride for Ceylon Committee: Dulanganie Jayatilake, Shamil Appathurai, Sriomal De Silva, Michael Arnold, Jega Periasamy, Upekshi Perera, Kumar Kalyanakumar, Nishan Wickramaratne, Nishantha Abeywardena & David Rasiah.
For more information please see www.ride4ceylon.com