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United States

The Greek Children’s Fund Celebrated its 40th Anniversary

November 26, 2023

NEW JERSEY – The Greek Children’s Fund (GCF) celebrated its 40th anniversary with a gala on Friday, November 24, in the packed ballroom of the Marriott Hotel in Teaneck, New Jersey.

During the event, Marina Tsotsos and Ismini Michaels were honored for their many years of contributiond to the Fund.

GCF President Sam Matthews thanked, through The National Herald, the volunteers and sponsors who contribute to the fund’s work.

As he said, “over the years we have raised $10 million and helped more than 10,000 sick children from Greece, Cyprus, and the Diaspora with accommodation, food and wherever needed. Our goal over the next 10 years is to raise $100 million for our fund to help with the medical expenses of children with serious illnesses.”

Matthews noted that, “the Greek Children’s Fund was founded in 1983, on the initiative of my father Stanley Matthews, who passed away last March at the age of 92. The idea began when he was visiting hospitals because of the serious illness that had struck his 11-year-old daughter.”

The President of the GCF, Sam Matthews, with his mother Niki and sister Katerina. (Photo: TNH/Michael Kakias)

“Initially,” Matthews continued, “he came into contact with families from Greece who, [due to sacrifices necessary] for of their child’s treatment, were deprived of even their livelihood in America, being far away. My parents gave my own money to help these families, and later relatives and friends were added. In February 1983, with the collaboration of Memorial Hospital social worker Margerita Mayer, who was of Greek descent, Mortimer H. Chute, and Julia McCormack, the Fund was launched.”

Eleni Manoliadis also spoke with emotion to the newspaper about the financial assistance her family received from the Fund when her son Haralambos was diagnosed with cancer at the age of one-and-a-half. “When the doctors told us, our blood froze and the world literally disappeared beneath our feet. In such dramatic moments, a family has to deal not only with the illness of its child but also with unbearable financial expenses. The treatment cost nearly $12 million, which thankfully was almost all covered by the insurance, but I had to leave my job to be constantly close to my child. We had no money to pay the mortgage. The Fund found out about us and started paying installments and other expenses for as long as needed. Without their help we would have lost our home and become homeless. Today my Haralambos is a healthy 18-year-old boy who goes to college and lives a normal life.”

She concluded “it is with great pleasure that we are here today, for the anniversary of the Fund, to reciprocate at least our gratitude and love to these people who stood by us in the most difficult moments of our lives.”

The president of the Hellenic Federation of New Jersey, Dr. Panos Stavrianidis, said that the Federation participates and supports charitable organizations, such as the GCF, which for decades has been helping sick children.

The President of the Philoptochos of the Metropolis of New Jersey, Eleni Constantinides congratulated the Fund on the anniversary and urged Greek-Americans to help and contribute as much as they can to the sacred work it does.

The president of the Lampousa Cypriot American Association, Stavros Kamilaris, said that the Fund and the Association have jointly organized many charity events in the past and have helped many children from Cyprus and Greece.

(Some names have been transliterated from Greek to English)

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