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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 03 February 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 3 FEBRUARY 2018 9 NEWS also keen to add her own touch. Fortunately, we were on the same wave length as she shared my love of fairies and had used her imagination and creativity in the same way as me when she was younger. Our dynamics were com- fortable, fun, easy, exciting and collaborative. We had a positive working relationship – not only did we ‘get’ each other, we could feed new ideas and concepts off each other. For example, Christina Irini used her love of animals to bring the Miles character, which is my cat, to life and developed him as a panther alongside the Warrior Princess. She also added some fine details in the drawings which bring another level of interest to the picture book and make it even more special. What is your main aspiration for this book? I want the book to be a way for children going through cancer not to feel like they're alone and to make their experience more manageable and less scary. I'd like to help them understand cancer better from the words and viewpoint of someone other than just Why did you want to share your story with the world? At first, writing the book was just a bit of a distraction really – it gave me a creative outlet and let me express what I was going through in my own way at that time. It was just about recording my own experience and getting it down on paper, so I'd remember it when I was older. I didn't really think about its value as a published book and that's why it stayed in my bottom drawer until just recently. But now that I have seen how people have responded to the book, I can see that sharing my story means I can help others – especially children – whose lives are affected by cancer. What did you learn about yourself in the process? That I can turn the crea- tive ideas in my head into something useful! If a book like this was around when you first began treatment, how would it have affected you? When I was diagnosed there were lots of adults – like doctors and nurses – have been able to relate to that much better and could've applied it to my own situation. It would've probably encouraged me to use my own imagination more to help me through. How does it feel being a Warrior Princess? It makes me feel stronger and more in control. I don't have much choice when it comes to treatment, but I can choose to face treatment and keep fighting cancer like a warrior. What is the most important thing anyone has ever told you? To take things one step at a time – minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. My mum always reminds me to focus on getting through whatever it is that I am dealing with right now and not to think about what's going to happen – or not happen – next or in the future. What was it that most helped you cope with the adversity you've had to face? The love and support of my big fat Greek family! I want the book to be a way for children going through cancer not to feel like they’re alone and to make their experience more manageable and less scary. I’d like to help them understand cancer better from the words and viewpoint of someone other than just their doctors and nurses. their doctors and nurses. I would love to see the book in children's hospitals for kids to read while they are being treated for cancer, and also in bookshops and libraries so kids who may have a friend or relative, of any age, with cancer can better understand treatment and what the patient is going through. telling me what was going on. I was also given lots of pamphlets, but I couldn't understand much because all the information I was getting was from an adult's point of view or written for adults. I would've loved looking through and reading a picture book created from a child's perspective – I'd What does being Greek mean to you? For me, being Greek means I know that all my physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are taken care of, especially in times of crisis! There was never a lack of anything for me and mum when I was in hospital, or for my dad and brothers at home. We were always wellsupported and comforted by a huge circle of family, friends, and the wider Greek community who visited, helped out, and brought endless amounts of gifts and food! I hated hospital food but there was always my favourite avgolemono soup from yiayia. Our priest not only visited me with blessings, prayers and icons – he used to bring me macaronia with kima as well! The most important thing to me about being Greek is feeling the warmth, support and love of a family that extends beyond our immediate relatives and friends. And knowing that our house is always open and everyone who comes in will be welcomed and fed! *'I'd Rather Be a Fairy Princess' by Petra Kotrotsos, illustrated by Christina Irini Arathimos is available at makaropress. co.nz A 24-year-old Greek entrepreneur makes the ‘30 under 30’ Forbes list Greek entrepreneur and innovator Stavros Tsompanidis, a 24-year-old who discovered an innovative method to productively utilise washed-up seagrass from the Mediterranean Sea has made it onto the second annual Forbes ‘30 Under 30 Europe’ list in the technology category. "I must admit I was rather surprised to be selected amongst 1,100 entrepreneurs in Europe but at the same time I am very excited with the result, particularly taking into consideration that our company was only established a few years ago," says Stavros, founder of PHEE, who also recently received a second award for best start-up company in sustainable development at the Start-up Greece Awards. "After attending a series of TED talks in Greece on innovation and entrepreneurship, I realised that my dream was to set up my own start-up and I was particularly keen to explore possibilities that would allow me to turn dead seagrass leaves into products. "I researched for two years and discovered that there was a gap in the market and after a few failed attempts, I teamed up with an engineer from the University of Patra, Nikolaos Athanasopoulos, who shared my vision to use the dead leaves of Neptune Grass (Posidonia Oceanica) and turn them into wonderful useful consumables. "Nikolaos is currently my business partner and PHEE's production manager," says Stavros, who is also PHEE's CEO and head of marketing. Based in Rio, a town in the western port city of Patra, the company manufactures a series of modern design products using phee-board, an innovative cellulose-based material made of seagrass. "Among PHEE's best-sellers are mobile phone cases, luxury gift boxes, and beach tennis paddles, while it recently launched an eyewear line in cooperation with Zylo, another Greek start-up that produces wooden frames and is based on the island of Syros. "We are now even looking at using our phee-boards for furniture manufacturing, but quite frankly, the sky is the limit with this incredible material we have in our hands. Our goal is to introduce and promote the principles of recycling and reusing materials that are found in abundance around us in a global market," says the University of Piraeus financial management graduate. "We have been very lucky to have the financial support of organisations such as the Angelopoulos Foundation, the People's Trust Founda- tion (Laskaridis Family), Papastratos and BlueGrowth Piraeus who saw the company's potential and its positive environmental impact and shared our vision in utilising thousands of tons of seaweed that washes up on our beaches every year in a sustainable manner. "We are blessed to be born in a country with so many hidden treasures and it's up to us to discover them all," concludes Tsampanidis. A 27-year-old Yale University graduate, Kristina Tremonti, was also awarded in the Law and Policy category for developing the crowdsourcing platform Edosa Fakelaki (I Paid a Bribe), which enables citizens to report corruption in Greece. Forbes’ ’30 Under 30 Europe’ list features 300 young innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders across Europe who are under 30 years of age and transforming business in categories such as arts, entertainment, finance, industry, media, policy, retail and ecommerce, science and healthcare, social entrepreneurs and technology.
27 January 2018
10 February 2018