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Thu, 1 Jan 2015

Andy’s dream to change the world

A posthumous Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree will be accepted by the father of JCU student Amuthan Annamalai at the university’s graduation ceremony tonight.

Andy’s dream to change the world

First published December 18, 2013

A posthumous Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree will be accepted by the father of James Cook University student Amuthan Annamalai at the university’s graduation ceremony tonight.

Mr Annamalai (known as Andy), 23, died in Townsville Hospital on January 25 this year after battling the bacterial disease, typhoid, believed to have been contracted during a visit to the Middle East and southern Asia.

Mr Annamalai had completed his major examinations in his fifth year of study in 2012 and was enrolled in his sixth and final year in 2013. He had commenced his sixth year studies shortly before he became ill. He was due to graduate this year.

Mr Annamalai’s father, Mr Anna Sundaram, said it would be a very difficult day but he was determined to attend for his son.

“In order to respect my son's hard work and dedication to his wish to become a doctor and serve the community, I am prepared to face the reality and attend the graduation ceremony and receive his degree,” he said.

“I strongly feel that my son is living in me now and that is why I am attending the ceremony on behalf of him.”

Mr Sundaram said his wife Shanthi and daughter Alagu are travelling from Sydney to attend the ceremony, as well as a few of his close Sydney-based family friends who treated his son as their own.

Mr Sundaram said Amuthan's wish was to change the medical world by his hard work and dedication. He had a passion for improving health in Third World countries, he said.

“He wanted to serve for people who are disadvantaged,” he said.

“He wanted to find solutions for rare complications in medical world, but he himself got caught in a rare complication.

“He being a man of action from his childhood, he had already paved ways to implement his dream of changing this world in his absence. To achieve his dream of changing the world better than before, I know this will play a major role to spread his dream and thus connect the minds related to his dream.”

Mr Sundaram said Amuthan also had a dream to improve the life style of Torres Strait Islanders by motivating them in the field of sports and had started a project through JCU.

“Anyone interested in sports can join in that project and improve the lifestyle of Torres Strait Islanders.”

Mr Sundaram said the Amuthan Bursary Award for research into typhoid fever at JCU had already been established with the research fund raised from the public and Amuthan family.

Mr Sundaram said the fund aimed to improve the health of under-served populations in the tropics through medical research and community development in the fields of public health/health promotion, infectious diseases (especially typhoid and/or dengue fever) and/or health services.

“The fund will support research that will lead to improved quality of life, health equity and excellence in clinical care for people living in the tropics.”

Note for media: Mr Sundaram is available for media interviews. Please contact JCU media on details below.

JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175