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Yianni’s Loukoumi Dream Day at Regeneron (Photos)

NEW YORK – Dreams do come true! They did for Yianni Xerakias, a fourth grade student from the William Spyropoulos School in Flushing, Queens. Yanni was the winner of the 2022 Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation Dream Day Contest, an annual program sponsored by The Loukoumi Foundation, where a child gets to live a day in their dream career, the Foundation announced on May 24.

Past winners have watched a spaceship land on Mars from NASA’s mission control, played football with the New York Giants, played soccer with the New York Red Bulls, swam with the U.S. Olympic Swim Team, danced with Misty Copeland at the American Ballet Theater, cooked with celebrity chefs Maria Loi, Cat Cora, Michael Psilakis, and Rachael Ray, predicted the weather with Fox-5’s Nick Gregory, reported the news from Yahoo! with Alexis Christoforous, acted with Elena Kampouris, spent the day with Jon Bon Jovi, the NYPD, and a neurosurgeon at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and sang from the Broadway stage with Constantine Maroulis, to name a few.

Yianni Xerakias, winner of the 2022 Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation Dream Day Contest, with Loukoumi Foundation founder Nick Katsoris at Regeneron. Photo: Courtesy of Regeneron

This week Yianni lived his Dream Day at the leading biotechnology company Regeneron in Tarrytown, NY. In Yianni’s winning video entry, he explained that he was born with one leg shorter than the other and had a successful surgery to correct the situation by implanting a rod in his leg. Yianni continued by saying that because of his surgery, and those that helped him, he wants to be a medical inventor because as he said, “I want to help kids and adults around the world.”

It was indeed a memorable Loukoumi Dream Day as the team at Regeneron pulled out all the stops starting with a medical scavenger hunt and a tour of their impressive headquarters. A group of Postdocs also led Yianni in a series of experiments, culminating with an inspiring lunch discussion with Regeneron President and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. George Yancopoulos.

During his day at Regeneron, Yianni Xerakias, winner of the 2022 Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation Dream Day Contest, with the group of Postdocs who led him in a series of experiments. Photo: Courtesy of Regeneron

“Thank you Dr. Yancopoulos, Senior Director of Corporate Communications Tina Parisi Tuttle for organizing an amazing day, Alexandra McDowell, the incredible team of Postdocs, and everyone at Regeneron for making this day so perfect,” said Loukoumi Foundation founder Nick Katsoris. “And Yianni, thank you for dreaming big, being an inspiration to others and for wanting to make a difference in the world. As Loukoumi says: ‘Believe in yourself and dreams come true!’”

During his day at Regeneron, Yianni Xerakias, winner of the 2022 Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation Dream Day Contest, with the group of Postdocs who led him in a series of experiments. Photo: Courtesy of Regeneron
Yianni Xerakias, winner of the 2022 Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation Dream Day Contest. Photo: Courtesy of Regeneron
Yianni Xerakias, winner of the 2022 Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation Dream Day Contest. Photo: Courtesy of Regeneron
Yianni Xerakias, winner of the 2022 Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation Dream Day Contest, with family members and friends including Loukoumi Foundation founder Nick Katsoris and his son Constantine at Regeneron. Photo: Courtesy of Regeneron

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