WASHINGTON Supreme President Dr. John Grossomanides has issued the following statement on the sad news of the passing of Ahepan Andrew A. Athens, a global leader of the Hellenic community, who died today in Chicago:
“The members of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association mourn the passing of Life Member Andrew Athens, a true pillar of global Hellenism, a highly-decorated World War Two veteran, an unwavering community activist, ardent philanthropist, and a successful businessman who truly realized and fulfilled the American Dream.
“Brother Athens will be sorely missed by all Hellenes as his kind and benevolent charitable work touched the lives of many people around the world. His legacy will live on through the several organizations he founded and led in support of Hellenism and Orthodoxy worldwide as well as in the many individuals he inspired. We are proud to have called him a Brother Ahepan.
“Our deepest sympathies are with the family of Andrew Athens. May his memory be eternal.”
Brother Athens, a life member of Chapter 46, Chicago, received the AHEPA Archbishop Iakovos Humanitarian Award in 1998 and the AHEPA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. He was 91.
AHEPA Contributes to Collective Effort that Sends $650,000 in Medical Aid to Chios, Greece
WASHINGTON The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading membership-based association for the nation’s three million American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes, joined with the Chios Society to secure a shipping container filled with more than $650,000 worth of medical and surgical supplies by the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to aid the people of Greece, announced Supreme President Dr. John Grossomanides. The 40-foot shipping container left the port of Seattle for Piraeus, Greece, and its contents are destined for the Geniko Nosokomeio Xiou on the island of Chios, Greece. This is the fourth container AHEPA has helped to secure thanks to the help of AHEPA member, Philanthropist Stas Margaronis.
“We are proud to team up with the IOCC and the Chios Society to continue our humanitarian assistance to the people of Greece,” said Supreme President Dr. Grossomanides. “We sincerely appreciate the generous contribution once again of Stas Margaronis, who helped to secure the shipping container. The AHEPA family continues to work diligently to raise funds to help the people of Greece during this unprecedented humanitarian crisis and will continue to work together with organizations such as the IOCC and Chios Society to provide humanitarian aid.”
Within the past six months AHEPA, with the assistance of Mr. Margaronis; the IOCC, the Cretan Society and the Chios Society have collaborated to send four containers of medical supplies with a wholesale value of $2.4 million. Plans are underway to secure two more containers. One would be sent to Crete (it would be the second one sent to Crete as part of this campaign) and the second one would be bound for the Evangelismos Hospital in Athens.
Dr. Grossomanides added, “The need is great. We encourage any efforts that can go toward helping the people of Greece every bit helps.”
Father Jordan Brown of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Portland, Ore., blessed the container bound for Chios at the warehouse of Medical Teams International in Tigard, Ore., March 6, 2013. Present at the ceremony were: Antonia Fikaris, secretary-treasurer, Chios Societies of America, Dave Beltz, director, Commodity Support, Medical Teams International; and Mr. Margaronis, who acknowledged the support of Dimitrios B. Kontolios, supreme president, Chios Societies of America and Canada.
To date, the AHEPA family has raised $200,000 for humanitarian aid for the people of Greece.
WASHINGTON Members of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading membership-based association for the nation’s millions of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellens, are deeply disappointed with a recent statement by British Prime Minister David Cameron ruling out a return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, announced Supreme President Dr. John Grossomanides.
“Obviously we are not surprised with the intransigent position taken by British Prime Minister David Cameron with regard to the return of the Parthenon Marbles,” said Supreme President Dr. Grossomanides. “We disagree with it in the strongest terms. The Parthenon Marbles belong back in their rightful place of origin Athens, Greece.”
The prime minister made his remarks last week while on an official visit to India, according to a news report in Kathimerini.
WASHINGTON The Charitable Foundation of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading membership-based association for the nation’s millions of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes, donated a total of $10,000 to families who fell victim to Superstorm Sandy, announced Supreme President Dr. John Grossomanides. The disbursement to the families occurred February 20, 2013.
“We hope this donation from the AHEPA Charitable Foundation will help in some small way to alleviate the hardship incurred by Superstorm Sandy victims,” said Supreme President Dr. Grossomanides. “The devastation experienced by communities affected by this hurricane was unparalleled. I commend the Greek American community for rallying to provide much-needed humanitarian aid to victims of Sandy.”
AHEPA chapters in District 5 (New Jersey and Delaware) and District 6 (New York) mobilized quickly after the hurricane hit to provide disaster relief to victims, including light demolition work and clean-up. Funds were also donated to purchase relief supplies and AHEPA members assembled 500 emergency aid supply buckets. Chapters also collected gift cards for pharmacies and home improvement and big-box retail stores for distribution to families. At Thanksgiving, chapters provided meals to families displaced from their homes.
AHEPA Supports Congressional Resolutions Opposing IOC Decision
WASHINGTON The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading membership-based association for the nation’s millions of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes, sent a letter to the head of the International Olympic Committee, Count Jacques Rogge, expressing the organization’s "deep disappointment" with the IOC’s decision to eliminate Greco Roman Wrestling as an Olympic sport in 2020 and requesting the IOC to overturn its decision, announced Supreme President Dr. John Grossomanides.
In the letter, which was signed by Supreme President Dr. John Grossomanides, National Athletic Director and Past Supreme President Ike Gulas, and Executive Director Basil Mossaidis, AHEPA argues that wrestling is one of the core Olympic sports, dating back to the ancient Games and the first modern Olympic Games. It has a widespread international following, including in the United States.
"Wrestling affords the opportunity for a significant number of countries to medal. For many countries, their sole Olympic medal is won in this sport. It is unfortunate that the IOC has decided to dash away the hopes and dreams of these countries," the letter states.
Separately, AHEPA announced it will support congressional resolutions already introduced in both houses of Congress opposing the International Olympic Committee’s decision to eliminate wrestling from the Summer Olympic Games beginning in 2020.
With Greece’s Public Health Budget Slashed, AHEPA and IOCC Secure Medical Aid for AHEPA Hospital in Thessaloniki
AHEPA Canada Donates Vital Medical Equipment to Evangelismos Hospital
WASHINGTON A shipping container filled with more than $650,000 worth of medical supplies and equipment is bound for the AHEPA Hospital in Thessaloniki thanks to the efforts of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading membership-based association for the nation’s millions of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes, which donated $15,000 to secure the shipping container and to the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), which worked diligently to coordinate the assembly of the medical supplies, announced Supreme President Dr. John Grossomanides. The container left for Thessaloniki this week.
“Austerity measures have cut public health spending in Greece by 25 percent or 12 billion dollars,” said Supreme President Dr. Grossomanides. “This has had a devastating impact upon the ability of hospitals to purchase medical supplies and equipment. The need is very real, and AHEPA, working in cooperation with the IOCC, is proud to be able to facilitate the shipment of a significant amount of aid to help address the medical supply shortage in Greece.”
The medical supplies range from syringes to walkers to catheters and nebulizers. According to Dr. Grossomanides, some of the supplies will also be transported to Evangelismos Hospital where AHEPA has a wing named after it.
“We thank the community for helping to make this important shipment of medical supplies a reality through its contributions and donations,” said Dr. Grossomanides. “The spirit of philanthropy is alive and well and it must continue to flourish if we are to meet the dire needs the people of Greece are enduring during this most difficult time. We are proud of the Greek American community’s action, and we encourage individuals and organizations to continue to donate to worthy causes that help Greece.”
In October 2012, a $5,000 AHEPA donation helped to secure a shipping container filled with more than $650,000 worth of medical and surgical supplies by the IOCC for Chios. Working together, AHEPA and IOCC have secured the shipment of $1.2 million of medical supplies thus far to Greece.
AHEPA Canada Donates Vital Medical Equipment to Evangelismos Hospital
In addition, AHEPA Canada announced the donation of much-needed medical equipment to Evangelismos Hospital in Athens, Greece. A rigid bronchoscope machine valued at 10,000 euros (or approximately $12,000 Canadian) has been purchased and donated to the hospital, as the result of a call for aid from hospitals in Greece.
“AHEPA in Canada has always been in the forefront of assistance to Greece,” said George Vassilas, Canadian president. “We are extremely proud of the donation of this equipment, which was purchased through generous donations from our members.”
AHEPA is especially grateful to AHEPA Past Canadian President Nicholas Aroutzidis for his generous donation of $10,000 which made the purchase possible.
“This donation by AHEPA Canada is a concrete example of the spirit of solidarity of the Greek Diaspora in Canada with the Greek people and a continuation of the many contributions of this organization to their Motherland,” said Greek Ambassador to Canada Eleftherios Anghelopoulos. “AHEPA continues to provide aid whenever they can to the people of Greece to help them through these difficult times.”
The rigid bronchoscope is a tool used for many different indications, but the machine donated to Evangelismos Hospital will be used exclusively to prevent lung bleeding while positioning stents in tumors.
Campaign to Feed the Needy Continues
As part of the AHEPA family’s (AHEPA and Daughters of Penelope) humanitarian campaign for Greece, the organization has donated nearly $100,000 to Apostoli Mission to help feed the people of Greece and will continue to do so. Each $10,000 donation prepares about 500 food package kits. Each food kit contains dry food and goods that will last a family of four about 20 days. Some food packages are tailored specifically for a family’s needs, for example, containing powdered baby formula and diapers for families with babies.
To date, the AHEPA family has raised nearly $200,000 for humanitarian aid for the people of Greece.
How You Can Help
IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has delivered more than $400 million in relief and development programs to families and communities in 50 countries.
For more information, please visit http://www.iocc.org
Founded in 1922 in Atlanta, Georgia, to protect individuals from the evils of bigotry and discrimination, AHEPA is the largest and oldest grassroots association of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes with more than 400 active chapters across the United States, Canada, Greece and Cyprus. The mission of AHEPA is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of Education, Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, and Family and Individual Excellence through community service and volunteerism.
For more information, please visit http://ahepa.org/
WASHINGTON The AHEPA Cooley’s Anemia Foundation welcomes news that the first U.S.-based clinical trial in gene therapy for beta-thalassemia has begun treating trial participants, announced Supreme President Dr. John Grossomanides. The trial received FDA approval in the summer of 2012 and began recruiting study subjects soon thereafter.
The Phase 1 study, officially titled, “ß-Thalassemia Major With Autologous CD34+ Hematopoietic Progenitor Cells Transduced With TNS9.3.55 a Lentiviral Vector Encoding the Normal Human ß-Globin Gene,” is being conducted at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Dr. Michel Sadelain, director of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Center for Cell Engineering and whose research the AHEPA Cooley’s Anemia Foundation has supported with grant-funding, is a member of the research team. In addition to Dr. Sadelain, the trial is led by Dr. Farid Boulad, medical director of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Pediatric Day Hospital; Dr. Isabelle Riviére, director of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Cell Therapy and Cell Engineering Facility.
“We are very excited about this next important step forward for the trial,” said Ike Gulas, chairman, AHEPA Cooley’s Anemia Foundation, whose son suffers from Cooley’s Anemia. “Our foundation is proud to support researchers such as Dr. Sadelain, whose expertise and knowledge contributed greatly to the advancement of this clinical trial in gene therapy to treating trial participants. Our commitment remains steadfast to supporting medical research in the hope that one day a cure will be found for Cooley’s Anemia.”
How It Works
According to the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation, in the trial, patients will have their blood stem cells extracted from circulating blood a process in which the stem cells are filtered out of the patients’ blood while their other blood cells are returned to them. Investigators will then use a vector to introduce a functional version of the β-globin gene into patients’ stem cells. Vectors are disabled viruses that cannot replicate but efficiently shuttle their genetic cargo into host cells.
According to Dr. Sadelain, one patient has already begun receiving treatment and two others are completing the enrollment process and will begin treatment soon. The trial is an international collaboration including multiple centers in the US, Italy and other countries.
“We provided scientific proof-of principle for this approach over a decade ago, and have since focused on resolving numerous clinical, biological and manufacturing challenges to open this trial under the best possible conditions. The approval of our cell manufacturing process and the design of our clinical trial by the US FDA in 2012 was an important milestone not only for thalassemia, but also for future studies in sickle cell disease and other blood disorders”, said Dr Sadelain.
How You Can Help
WASHINGTON The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading membership-based association for the nation's millions of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes, donated $20,000 to Apostoli Mission, an Athens food bank charity under the direction of the Church of Greece, on December 3, 2012 as part of its ongoing humanitarian campaign to feed people of need in Greece, announced Supreme President Dr. John Grossomanides.
“The need is great all-year around, but is especially felt during the holidays,” said Dr. Grossomanides. “We encourage any efforts that can go toward helping the people of Greece — every bit helps. Please consider making a contribution today.”
AHEPA District 25 (Hellas) Governor Nick Papadopoulos presented AHEPA's $20,000 installment for November and December 2012 to Costas Dimtsas, executive director, Apostoli Mission, in Athens, Greece.
Each $10,000 donation prepares about 500 food package kits. Each food kit contains dry food and goods that will last a family of four about 20 days. Some food packages are tailored specifically for a family's needs. For example, a food package may contain powdered baby formula and diapers for a family with babies.
Since April 2012, the AHEPA family (AHEPA and Daughters of Penelope) has donated $93,500 toward this humanitarian campaign, which included a $5,000 October 2012 donation to help secure a shipping container filled with more than $650,000 worth of medical and surgical supplies by the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC).
To date, the AHEPA family has raised more than $150,000 for humanitarian aid for the people of Greece.
WASHINGTON The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading association for the nation’s three million American citizens of Greek heritage and countless Philhellenes, attended Saint Basil Academy’s annual Christmas pageant and luncheon reception on December 15, 2012 where AHEPA family representatives presented each of the 14 Saint Basil Academy students with a Christmas gift.
“For more than 60 years the AHEPA family has been a proud supporter of Saint Basil Academy,” said Dr. John Grossomanides, who was unable to attend but was represented by an AHEPA family delegation. “These students are so special and work very hard to achieve their academic goals. The AHEPA family will always be committed to ensuring the mission of Saint Basil Academy is met.”.
An audience of more than 200 persons was treated to a Christmas pageant staged by the Academy students. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios spoke at the luncheon. Father Costas Sitaras, executive director, Saint Basil Academy, and Evellyn Tsiadis, president, Saint Basil Academy Board of Trustees, and a Daughters of Penelope past grand president, welcomed the guests.
“We were treated to a wonderful program that captured the essence of the Christmas spirit,” added AHEPA’s Saint Basil Academy Chairman James Poll, a past supreme secretary. “It was a pleasure to spend the day with Archbishop Demetrios, the leadership of St. Basil’s, and of course, the students.”
In addition to Poll, Daughters of Penelope Grand Secretary Demi Thomas, Supreme Governor Jimmy Kokotas, Executive Director Basil Mossaidis, and AHEPA district officers from New York and New Jersey were in attendance to support the event.
In its 90-year history, AHEPA has donated more than $1.75 million to Saint Basil Academy for the construction of dormitories and a school building. Also, the Daughters of Penelope has contributed to the furnishing of new buildings that have been built on campus and built a heated outdoor swimming pool for the children. Together, the AHEPA family provides for the ongoing maintenance and renovation of the facilities it helped to construct.
WASHINGTON Dr. John Grossomanides, national president of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), a leading membership-based association for the nation's millions of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes, has issued the following statement following Friday's national tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Conn.:
“The American Hellenic Community is deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
“Our deepest condolences and thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families, the community of Newtown, and all who are affected by this senseless act of violence.
“We must come together to rise above this national tragedy.”