She’ll be long remembered for promoting native remedies in combating cancer
Posted on October 20th, 2021

Courtesy The Island

An appreciation: Dr. Mrs. Cynthia Jayasuriya

The late Dr. Mrs. Cynthia Jayasuriya, top ENT surgeon would be remembered for promoting manioc, considered the poor man’s food, as a miracle nourishment that could hold the ultimate secret to curing cancer. Having undergone treatment for a long time, Cynthia declared she suffered from cancer and commenced a study of Western food practices before endorsing manioc. In public lectures and addressing gatherings, via Skype, Cynthia had no qualms in saying that she ate manioc three times a day and that manioc was the reason for her improvement.

 The media quoted her as having said: So I ate the manioc minimum of 10 grams three times a day. After having consumed it for one month, I underwent a cystoscopy (examination of the bladder) at the General Hospital by the same surgeon who treated me. He was surprised that my bladder was absolutely clean and normal. There was no place to take any biopsy”, were the surgeon’s very words to me.”

Cynthia strongly believed that comprehensive studies should be done on how manioc can be used in the treatment of cancer patients.

It is with immense gratitude I’m penning this appreciation of the much-adored Cynthia akki who passed away on April 12, 2020, a week prior to her 84th birthday. Cynthia belonged to an affluent Catholic family in Negombo. Her parents were Gladstone and Beeta de Livera. Gladstone’s elder brother, Michael de Livera, donated his spacious residence with more than five acres of land to then Cardinal Thomas Cooray to set up a home for the aged. Michael made the donation in memory of his parents. The Church established St. Joseph’s Home for the Aged for those who struggled to make ends meet.

Cynthia had one sister and six brothers younger to her. She had her early education at Ave Maria Convent, Negombo, before entering the Holy Family Convent, Bambalapitiya where she secured the required results to enter Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo. Her dream was to become an E.N.T. surgeon. Having had her postgraduate studies in the U.K, she returned to the country where she served in many hospitals. Subsequently, she served in the private sector hospitals, too. She was well known for her diagnostic and surgical skills and was much sought after being very kind and generous.

She had no qualms in providing her services free of charge to those unable to make payments. She married Wilfrid Jayasuriya from Kalutara. He was a government servant cum teacher and one-time Commissioner of the R.M.V. Jayasuriya taught at the American National College, an extension of a consortium of American, Australian and British Universities. Jayasuriya was the holder of a Doctorate for English Language, also winner of the Art Council Award for Best Novel 1996 (Libyan episode). Jayasuriya also authored ‘Time Traveller’, ‘Sri Lanka’s modern English literature: a case study in literary theory’, ‘Christine’s Story’ and ‘The British Diaries’

 They had four children, two sons and two daughters, Saliya, Palika, Charitha and Menik. Except her son Saliya, other children live in the US. Saliya resides in Colombo and, like his mother, is so affectionate whenever time permits he visits me and my husband, Claude at our home at Katuwapitiya, Negombo. As the writer is married to one of Cynthia’s brothers, she had the opportunity to know closely how much Cynthia loved her parents, brothers, only sister, and their siblings. We are forever grateful for her adorable ways, always the Good Samaritan to help. Whenever we were sick or in trouble she was our saviour.

Whilst I go down memory lane, I recollect, a long time back, when my husband had an operation. We were asked to go to her residence at Borella, where we were looked after well. She was a fabulous pianist. The memory of Cynthia playing the piano while singing softly is still afresh on the writer’s mind. Cynthia used to make butter having milked the cow. Another loving memory is Cynthia leaving her home for Sunday mass driving her Benz. Lastly she was a fond and adorable grandmother of Lauren, Michael, Jessica, Amy, Sophia and Juliette. May the Almighty Lord look after her. Let the perpetual light shine upon her.

Yours lovingly,

Nalini de Livera.

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