The members of the Australian Hellenic Medical Charity Inc (AHMCI), was registered in South Australia about four years ago to raise funds to support hospitals in Greece and saw another of its dreams come true as members collected funds in support of the Ikaria Hospital.
AHMCI’s fundraising gala event was held in the Cypriot Community hall late last year and $22,000 was raised by members in addition to a private donation by a major sponsor who committed to the purchase of Cardiovascular ultrasound equipment for the hospital.
“The AHMCI is proud to be supporting the Ikaria hospital of Agios Kirikos. In 1958, the Ikarian Society was formed in SA. The Ikarians raised £200 in March, 1958, and donated the money towards the building of the hospital in Ikaria.
Sixty-two years later, the AHMCI is proud to be assisting the same hospital and the Hellenic Australian legacy continues,” said Adelaide-born IT professional and President of the organisation, Konstantinos Barkoukis.
Greek Australian Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia Chris Kourakis together with Mr Barkoukis’ spouse, Despina Pastrikos, solicitor Lucasz Wyszynski and businessmen George Apostolou, Sotiris Phillis, Dr Andrea Zisos, Prof Andreas Evdokiou and Konstandina Louta Zisos are members of the AHMCI board.
“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,” said the Mr Barkoukis, the AHMcI president.
“My assistance with this charity is my way of repaying a moral debt to Greece that I have owed for a very long time,” said Polish-born solicitor Lucasz Wyszynski who fled Poland with his parents in September 1986, because of their religious convictions and connotations attached to their family name. They found refuge in Greece.
“While fleeing Poland, my parents applied to Italy and the Hellenic Republic for temporary refuge, however, both stated that they were somewhat full. The Hellenic Republic ignored their own policy-based quota and accepted my family regardless and I will be forever grateful for that,” said Mr Wysztnski.
Mr Barkoukis decided to step up to the challenge and form the organisation after visiting Greece a few years ago and witnessing first-hand the difficulties hospitals faced in procuring medical equipment to service their patients’ needs.
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staff, Greek hospitals receive positive reviews for customer service, however infrastructure and medical equipment is outdated and in short supply, significantly increasing the health risks to patients.
The organisation has already delivered medical equipment to the General Hospital of Halkidiki (Polygyros) and the Thriasio Hospital in Elefsina.
“We will not stop here. This is just the beginning and if we can save one person’s life back home then it’ll all be worth our while.,” concluded Mr Barkoukis.
♦ For more information regarding the organisation and donation options, visit https://chuffed.org/project/ahmci