Lasting legacy to ‘inspirational’ Leeds trainee doctor

Stari Gunarathe.
Stari Gunarathe.
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A Bereaved family want to create a lasting legacy for a Leeds medical student who died from cancer.

Stari Gunarathne died from leukaemia in December, an illness triggered by a previous course of chemotherapy for a different type of cancer.

After Stari, a Leeds University student, was diagnosed a second time, she started a moving blog documenting her experiences.

The last entry was made just two days before the 26-year-old died, explaining the importance of her faith and how pleased she was to be awarded a Bsc in Life Sciences.

Now her parents are supporting the church in Leeds which she attended in turning her blog into a book.

Her father, Dr Gunti Gunarathne, said his daughter was inspirational.

“In my view she has given a unique message that has already impacted remarkably on the lives of so many around the world,” he said.

Stari, who grew up near Aberdeen, came to Leeds in 2007 and made a full recovery after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2010. However in 2012 a check-up found she had acute myeloid leukaemia.

The medic charted her journey on her Finding the Anchor in the Storm blog, including her final realisation that she only had weeks to live.

Dr Gunarathne paid tribute to staff at St James’s Hospital, where he said she received “magnificent” care.

Now fellow members of South Parade Baptist Church in Headingley are publishing her blog, with proceeds going towards an internship scheme.

* Stari’s blog is at Donations can be sent to South Parade Baptist Church, Kirkstall Lane, Headingley, Leeds LS6 3LF. Visit to hear a talk by Stari.

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