NEW YORK – Under beautiful blue skies, the Greek Division of Ronald McDonald House New York held the 22nd Annual Niki Sideris Memorial Walk-A-Thon on June 10.
The family event brought together participants of all ages to raise funds for the worthy cause. This year’s event co-chair was Taso Pardalis of the Law offices of Pardalis & Nohavicka, LLP.
The Greek Division of Ronald McDonald House New York, founded by Niki Sideris of blessed memory, helps to offer a loving “home-away-from-home” to many children from Greece and Cyprus, as well as Greek-Americans and children from across the globe and all 50 states. The Niki Sideris Annual Memorial Walk-a-Thon raises funds and awareness for those brave children as they battle cancer. As noted by Maria Pardalis, “The Walk-a-Thon is a fun, family-friendly celebration of philanthropy and Greek heritage.”
The event helps continue Niki Sideris’ service to children and families in need. Registration began at 9 AM and included food, entertainment, and T-shirts for those taking part in the walk-a-thon. The walk itself began at 11 AM. The procession kicked off at Ronald McDonald House on 73rd Street between 1st and York Avenues and made its way around the block passing by Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. The Walk-a-Thon returned to Ronald McDonald House where a reception with food and drink awaited all the participants. Father John Vlahos, Dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral, gave the blessing. The National Anthem of Greece and the Star-Spangled Banner were performed.
Among those participating were Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras, Consul of Greece Manos Koubarakis, Michael Bapis- Chairman of the Greek Division since 2014, and partner and managing director of the Bapis Group at HighTower, Executive Committee Member Spiros Maliagros, Spiridoula Katechis, Taso and Maria Pardalis with their children, and many members of the Greek Division, family, and friends.
Ruth C. Browne, SD, President and CEO of Ronald McDonald House New York, also attended the event and opened her remarks with “Kalimera,” and then thanked the Greek Division for its efforts and Michael Bapis for his leadership.
The entertainment included Ronald McDonald himself, clowning to the delight of the children, and Greek dancing performed in traditional costume.
Founded by the late Mrs. Niki Sideris in 1979 to aid Greek, Cypriot, and Greek-American families with children undergoing cancer treatment, the Greek Division of Ronald McDonald House is the only ethnic division of the charity and now helps children from all over the world receive the care and services they need to battle against the various forms of the terrible disease. The social services and caring environment at Ronald McDonald House New York, the largest facility of its kind in the world, are a valuable asset in the fight against pediatric cancer. The temporary home away from home helps children and families develop support systems to see them through difficult times. The Greek Division also holds an annual Christmas party in December which along with the annual walk-a-thon are the two fundraisers the organization holds each year.