The members of the Australian Hellenic Medical Charity Inc. (AHMCI) – conceptualised and registered in 2015 with a sole purpose of raising funds to support hospitals in Greece -witnessed another dream coming into fruition last Christmas when Dr Andrew Zisos and another member of AHMCI, Connie Loutas travelled to Greece to deliver the second instalment of the Athens fires appeal medical products to the Thriasio Hospital.
“We are so happy to be in a position to give back to our country in such a wonderful way,” Ms Loutas said after meeting with the hospital’s Vice CEO Mr Pilalis and Dr Dimitris Krikonis.
The two AHMCI members delivered equipment including early cancer detection dermatoscopes requested by the Hospital and also a further five containers comprising of dermatomes blades for Zimmer dermatomes and two dermatoscopes for the needs of the Department of Plastic Surgery.
“After three intense years of hard work and three major fundraising events, we are really excited to announce that another project has been completed,” said Adelaide-born Konstantinos Barkoukis, IT professional and President of AHMCI.
Mr Barkoukis decided to step up to the challenge and help his homeland after visiting Greece a few years ago, and witnessing first-hand the difficulties various hospitals faced in procuring medical equipment needed to service patients’ needs which in some cases was life-saving.
Due to the diligent nature of medical staff, Greek hospitals receive positive reviews for customer service, however infrastructure and medical equipment is outdated and in short supply, increasing significantly the health risks to patients.
“When the doctors of the hospital asked for our support, we made a promise to the Hellenic people that we would do everything we could in Australia to donate and raise funds to assist.
“AHCMI provided the products on a free 15-year lease and then the equipment is property of the hospital, therefore equipment cannot be sold or transferred in that period,” explains Barkoukis further pledging that in 2020, AHMCI will continue with more fundraising efforts for Larnaca hospital in Cyprus and in 2021 for Agia Sofia children’s hospital in Athens.
Greek Australian Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia Chris Kourakis together with Barkoukis’ spouse Despina Pastrikos, solicitor Lucasz Wyszynski and businessmen George Apostolou and Sotiris Phillis are also Board Members of the AHMCI.
The foundation has DGR (deductible gift recipient status) from the Australian Taxation Office and was formed to purchase essential medical products required by Hellenic hospitals that cannot be procured due to financial constraints, the financial crisis and global economic downturn.
“I believe it’s a blessing from God to be a Hellene, therefore, it’s our duty in the Diaspora to assist our fellow Greeks with basic healthcare and if we can save one person’s life, it would be worth our while,” concludes Barkoukis.
For further information regarding the organisation and donation options, visit https://chuffed.org/project/ahmci