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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 6 December 2014
SATURDAY 6 DECEMBER 2014 3 AUSTRALIA Donate blood to help save Evangelos The Paschalis family appeals to Greek Australians aged 1845 to donate blood and help Evangelos overcome acute myeloid leukaemia NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU Evangelos Paschalis, 36, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia - an aggressive type of cancer that affects the blood - hasn't been matched to a compatible blood donor yet. His life span is two to three months. "My brother Evangelos was leading a normal, happy and healthy life in Keysborough with his partner Lynn and nine-month-old daughter Chloe, when suddenly their world was turned upside down," his sister Chrisa tells Neos Kosmos. "I am pregnant and I can't donate blood. Since there are no other siblings, we are rallying as many Greek men and women between the age of 18 and 45 as possible to donate blood for this cause." The doctors told them that after siblings, they look to the donor registries of the same ethnicity. The more people that donate, the more likely that a match for Vaggeli is found. In the process, every blood donor will be helping three more people. "Every day that goes by is extremely important. Even though many Greek Australian citizens have turned Evangelos Paschalis, with his ninemonth-old daughter Chloe. up and got tested, there has been no match yet. Meanwhile, Evangelos has undergone another, even heavier chemotherapy," she says. Any potential donor willing to give a stem cell sample should know that the process is not time-consuming and does not have risks for the donor. Peripheral blood stem cell donation takes three to four hours and there is no need for a general anaesthetic. You can make an appointment online at www.donateblood.com.au, or contact the Australian Red Cross on 131495 to make an appointment. It is highly important that you request your blood donation to go on the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry. This will ensure that stem cells from your donation will be tested as a potential match for Evangelos. For more information visit The Leukaemia Foundation @ www. leukaemia.com or call 1800 620 420. To donate, contact the Australian Bone Marrow Registry @ abmdr.org.au or call 131495. You can also contact Evangelos' sister Chrisa on 0410 194 924 with any questions. Greek Cypriot fights for mesothelioma landmark case Chris Georgiou is taking the federal government to court for not doing enough to stop the use of asbestos building materials HELEN VELISSARIS The day Chris Georgiou was diagnosed with mesothelioma, he was both shocked and confused. For one, he had no idea what the word meant. "I got the shock of my life. Mesothelioma? Never heard of it," Mr Georgiou tells Neos Kosmos. "I even asked the doctor to write it down for me, I never knew it was about asbestos." For 14 years, Mr Georgiou was in direct contact with asbestos and the synonymous product Mr Fluffy. As a jeweller, he would store some of his precious materials in the roof cavity of his house, touching the asbestos with his bare hands. "The ceiling was asbestos, and I was putting pink bats up there, aluminium foil to warm up the house, touching the asbestos," he says. Now at 80 years old, his recent diagnosis is a testament to how dormant and deadly mesothelioma can be. "I was pretty healthy, mind you, but only now it's come up in my body." open the door for other people affected by asbestos in their homes to come forward. With the nature of mesothelioma lying dormant for years, the threat of developing the disease is always apparent. Mr Georgiou is suing the federal government in the New South Wales Dust Diseases Tribunal for negligence after it failed to stop the installation of Mr Fluffy in homes when it knew full well of the dangers of asbestos. His lawyer Theodora Ahilas, a seasoned asbestos litigator, says documents show that the government was aware of the harm coming into contact with asbestos could cause. "We believe he's got an arguable case because the Commonwealth knew about the dangers," she says. "There was a document in 1968, commissioned by the then federal government through an agency to identify whether there were any dangers associated with Mr Fluffy, the document indicated there was a danger to employees [installing the insulation] and also to people in the homes. "So knowledge was around about the dangers of asbestos." In the document, the government was even briefed that it should consider stop- Fundraiser to help Poppy fight MS Mother of two to travel to Russia for life-saving treatment In October 2013, Poppy Siachos was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS) after suffering nausea, vertigo and vomiting in her family home two months earlier. The mother of two young girls, Sammi (4) and Rahnia (7), Poppy is holding a fundraiser tonight at Pontiaki Estia to raise $70,000 for treatment at the Department of Haematology and Cellular Therapy, at the National Pigorov Medical Centre in Moscow. After feeling the onset of dizziness, heart palpitations, sweats and shaking, she drove herself to hospital in May, 2013, to be told she needed to cut down on coffee, and that her symptoms were brought on by stress and anxiety. The treatment, not available in Australia, is known as Haematopoietic Stem Cell Treatment and involves six weeks of therapy, through the harvesting of stem cells, which are reintroduced into the body after bouts of chemotherapy. It aims to stop MS in its tracks. The hospital's services have been sought out by Australians in the past, seeking the same treatment. Ms Siachos says the disease has completely changed her life. "I am often tired, fatigued, my head feels strange all the time, like I have goose bumps and often experience unusual burning sensations in my face, arms and head. I have issues with dizziness, balance and my cognitive function is starting to deteriorate." "I want to be able to see my children grow up and do the things that I used to do before. Play with them and laugh with them and not be tired and unwell all the time, and explain to them that mummy is always feeling sick." Those who would like to help in Ms Siachos' cause can do so by purchasing a $65 ticket to the event, which will include music, food and drinks. Tables can be booked by contacting 0421 804 968 or (03) 9381 1761. When: 7.30 pm Saturday December 6, 2014. Where: Pontiaki Estia, 540 Sydney Road, Brunswick, Melbourne. Chris Georgiou contracted mesothelioma after living in a house with asbestos for 14 years. PHOTO: ABC. ping the operator of Mr Fluffy, Dirk Jansen, from operating. When Mr Fluffy was installed in Mr Georgiou's house in the mid 1970s, even more knowledge was known about the dangers of asbestos. For Mr Georgiou, mesothelioma has caused him a number of problems, including fluid in the lungs, severe chest pain, nausea and weight loss. While his condition is stable for now, he lives in fear that the preventable disease will resurface. "It takes a long time to surface in your body," he says. "It's a secretive disease, that's always there." He fears that his son, who helped him install pink bats in the roof years ago, will end up developing the disease. If successful, this case will More than 1,000 homes in the ACT were fitted with Mr Fluffy asbestos in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Homeowners living in the affected houses were recently sent a letter by the ACT government outlining the threat. The federal government has agreed to help the ACT government fund a buyback and demolish program for affected homeowners, a clean-up program that could cost upwards of $1 billion. For Mr Georgiou, bringing the issue of the ‘silent disease’ to the fore and ‘exposing’ the government's inaction is enough to give him the strength to keep the fight alive. Ms Ahilas says sufferers need to see action. "I've been doing this work for 23 years and I can tell you about what I've seen, about families that have been destroyed by this disease," she says. "They absolutely deserve to be compensated for the pain and suffering caused by a preventable disease." Australia has the highest incident rate of asbestos-related disease in the world. Poppy Siachos with daughters Sammi and Rahnia and husband Bill.
29 November 2014
13 December 2014