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Hiruni Gunasekera - future graduate

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Louis Jenkins

Hiruni Gunasekera has just finished her second-year as a medical student at Griffith University Gold Coast. 

2021 was a tough year for Hiruni. She experienced compounding challenges and disruptions including her mum’s breast cancer diagnosis. 

“Following the diagnosis, I found myself travelling back to Brisbane as often as I could to help my mum attend chemotherapy sessions, as well as assist in household work as my sisters attend school. 

“This entire situation impacted me profoundly and I found myself feeling overwhelmed with guilt and financial strain.”

With Hiruni’s time split between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and the toll the diagnosis had taken on her family, she found it difficult to concentrate on her studies.

She even considered dropping out. 

Hiruni managed to make it through 2021 - maintaining a good academic performance despite her challenges. 

Recognising that financial support would ease the pressures she and her family still face, Hiruni successfully applied for a 2022 AMA Queensland Foundation medical student scholarship. 

She says it’s made a world of different to her and her family. 

“My parents have supported me through university so far, but we’ve found our household income essentially halved. 

“This opportunity has changed my life and has allowed me to pursue my studies and help relieve travel costs, enabling me to take care of my mum comfortably as well.”

Hiruni has a huge heart. She spent part of 2022 raising vital funds for the Leukaemia Foundation.  

In 2023 she’ll be keeping the rural community of Warwick safe when she interns at Warwick Hospital.