After three continents and more than 12 000 kilometres, the cycling odyssey of Greek Australian Tom Kokoris finished in his village of Reichia. Kokoris set out on the five month cycling journey to raise funds for the Greek charity ELPIDA (Association of Friends of Children with Cancer).
The Municipality of Monemvasia – and his compatriots in Reichia – organised the warm welcome with traditional songs and dances, and when the exhausted cyclist arrived in his horio at about 11:00 pm, the crowd burst into applause and shouts of excitement.
On April 1, Tom Kokoris left from Sydney on his bicycle, with his 20-year-old daughter Olga, on a multi-continent cycle ride to raise money for children suffering from cancer and leukaemia. Their first transatlantic voyage stop was the US. After the 5000 km ride through the US, Kokoris travelled to Europe on his own – cycling through Portugal, Spain, France and Italy and then via Igoumenitsa, before he arrived in his village in Greece.
Before finishing the journey, Kokoris made a stop in Ermioni, Argolis, to take part in a ceremony held in his honour. The ceremony was attended by ELPIDA’s founder and UN goodwill ambassador Marianna Vardinoyannis, as well as the Ambassador of Australia in Greece, Jenny Bloomfield.
According to Greek media reports, Kokoris was greeted with pride and excitement by residents of Reichia, but also of other villages of Zarakas. Five hundred people were waiting at the celebration held in Kokoris’ honour in Ermioni. Along with them, Kokoris was also welcomed by other Greek Australians.
The elementary school – where the celebrations were held – brought Kokoris memories of his childhood, where he completed grade one before migrating to Australia with his family.
Kokoris entertained the crowd with tales of the adventures on his journey, and referred to the charitable purpose for which he made the multi-continental trip. He talked about family members he had lost to cancer and spoke of his want to strengthen organisations and hospitals struggling to save patients, especially when it comes to children.
The amount raised from the cycling odyssey, from Greeks around the world and foreign citizens, was $50,000. The special account opened in Greece, was strengthened by the municipal council of Monemvasia who contributed 1,000 euros.