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How did netball champion of whom home-members say have no disease die from leukemia?


How did netball champion of whom home-members say have no disease die from leukemia?

A clever shooter, Melani was defeated and that was not in a game of netball ... but in the game of life. The disease which came over her at an unexpected moment ... her 'maraya' gave her no chance at all. Within a short space of time after she was inflicted from the disease, Melani Ama Wijeysingha left this world. At the time of death, Melani was just seventeen years old. Within the short span of life she spent on this earth Melani became a
valuable asset as a player and thus left behind many a memory to that effect.

Melani's father who lived at Hanwella Road, Kirindiwela was a retired army officer. He in fact represented the army basketball team and was himself a skillful player and is Dhammika Nishantha by name. Melani's mother is Chandrika Damayanthi. From the day Melani was born, Damayanthi put a full-stop to her career and became a devoted mother to her baby Melani. Melani has a younger brother too and is schooling at St. Joseph's College, Colombo in the sixth year. 

Melani began her education at Kiribathgoda Vihara Maha Devi Vidyalaya. She passed her year five scholarship with good marks and subsequently entered Colombo Visakha Maha Vidyalaya. After about two years since she entered Visakha she took part in various sports. In the process she displayed skills in swimming too, showing special skills in netball. Melani who turned the college netball field upside down even became a great strength for her team to win the national school championship held in the  year 2015. In the same way, Melani Ama was instrumental in carrying out her role in bringing a memorable victory to Visakha in the under 16 Milo sports tournament. It was the team that Melani represented won first place in the netball tournament at the 41st national sports festival organised by the sports ministry in the year 2015. Melani was instrumental in displaying a special sporting talent in the inter-district netball tournament of the Western province in the same year which team incidentally was placed first. To sum up everything, Melani ended up by by being awarded college colours among schools for the best player in school competitions in the year 2016 appreciating her skills in the game of netball. 

Because of the wonderful skills displayed in the school-field, Melani was fortunate enough to represent the national netball team at a tender age itself. Melani Ama represented the world championship netball tournament held in the year 2017 in Botswana and thus stepped into the international netball arena was skillful enough to bring victory to a team who were within sight of defeat. Melani who had an inborn talent for the game of netball became the vice captain of the national netball team within the space of a short time after she started representing that team. She in fact was the youngest player in the world netball tournament held in Japan this year. But her skills never decreased. Melani who etched her name in the world of netball was second to no other game and in that tournament she became a tower of strength to the Sri Lanka netball team. In the same way she won acclaim as the best shooter in Asia. 

"We had a girl who could be valued as much as a country ... a world champion. From the age of ten she would run and jump in playing-grounds throughout the day and appear for contests. She did not have a disease from her head downwards. If she had an ailment like that how can she run about and play in the hot sun sir?" When we attended Melani's funeral her mother asked that question with tears in her eyes. 

What was circulated across the social media was that Melani Ama the netball champ was subjected to cancer and has passed away. However Melani's parents did not believe that story. What they said was something totally to the contrary. "On a day in July this year our daughter complained of a shoulder pain and she took treatment for it. After taking that treatment she went to Kurunegala on August 1st to participate in the netball Milo tournament. I also accompanied her to Kurunegala. It was during the course of play that she fell sick for the first time. She came out of court and said, "Amme I am getting a blackout ... have no strength in the body". So saying she embraced me. A doctor from Visakha Vidyalaya was present there. So were a lot of parents. That moment the said doctor took my daughter to a private hospital in Kurunegala and did a complete blood-test. The doctor who conducted the blood-test said, "White blood cells have gone up, hemoglobin has decreased,  the platelet count has gone down to eighty".  What was shown in those examinations was a condition of leukemia. 

Just then the principal of Visakha Vidyalaya arrived in her private vehicle and brought my daughter to Colombo national hospital. Several specialists at Colombo national hospital checked my daughter and carried out all medical tests. No condition of a state of leukemia was reported in it. Even when taking treatment from Colombo general hospital what daughter said was that "I have no such sickness amme". After taking medicine from hospital the white blood cells had decreased and the condition of sickness has turned into a normal state. Daughter was released with the comment 'we would continue treatment in the future too' on the clinic card. 

After seventeen days she came home on August 20th. But I accompanied daughter two days a week to the clinic. On every day we went a blood-test was taken. All those reports were good. We have all those reports with us. Doctors who examined her at the clinic said that Melani can now go to school also. When she was ready to go to school on doctors' advice, she had an attack of tonsilitis and then was afflicted by a virus fever. With resistance becoming weak white blood cells had gone up with the platelet count dropping and she became serious. 

Once again we admitted her to Colombo general hospital. However much she was given treatment ... her condition did not turn for the better. Day by day her white blood cells began increasing and the platelet count dropped in the process. On medical tests conducted at that time the doctors said that a condition of leukemia was observed. It was when she became highly serious that she was transferred to Maharagama Apeksha hospital from Colombo general hospital and at that time her white blood cells had rocketed to two lakhs twenty one thousand. That was on the 16th of this month. "  

"Amme, though I am brought here ... I have no cancer. Don't worry ... I won't die ... I have good strength!" "Even those words she said with with so much courage. White blood cells had increased to four lakhs fifty thousand but daughter was alright. It was on the fourth day morning after coming to Apeksha hospital that she could not talk. I was near her at that moment. Noticing daughter pulling her breath ... I came out. Doctors, nurses all got round her and did their best to save her life ... but could not give back her life. I just can't think what happened to my child! There was no agile child in the entire netball court as she. When she would get into the court she would play continuously non-stop throughout the game ... such a wonderful interest. It was my daughter who was to be the next captain in the netball team. We now live with those skills of hers". Damayanthi's dried up eyes keep glistening. There are no more tears in those eyes for her to cry. Tears welling within that mother's eyes cannot be extinguished after a daughter a whole country is no more. 

Thus a mother can never bear daughter Melani taking leave of life's journey at a time when the watchtower of future was shining brilliantly. Not only Damayathi ... even the whole of Visakha cannot bear up that sorrow. Such distinguished players are born in a country ... rarely. But .. however much skillful, agile and courageous one is ... we should obey the calling of 'Maraya', we ought realise. 

Note - Tharanga Ratnaweera (Divaina)
Photos - Kirindiwela Somapala Theligama 


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