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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 17 November 2018
COMMUNITY 8 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 17 NOVEMBER 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Greek Australian organ donor saves three people’s lives Alex Pappos died on the ‘best night of his life’, but he gave the gift of life to others THEODORA MAIOS This joyful and precious photo of son Alex Pappos and his father Manuel captures the last and most carefree moment the two men shared during the 2017 AFL Grand Final in Melbourne, before an acute asthma attack took the life of the 41-year-old man. The owner of the popular Slate Restaurant Bar in Melbourne's CBD was a great sportsman who loved to play football and cricket, so one can only imagine his excitement to be cheering for his beloved Tigers, as they won the 2017 AFL Grand Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. "I will never forget the moment between singing Richmond's anthem when Alex turned to me saying that it was the best night of his life," recalls his father. Sadly, as the siren sounded, and the crowd watched Matthew 'Richo' Richardson hand over the cup to the 2007 premiers, Alex, who had quite possibly dismissed what during the game felt like a mild asthma attack, collapsed. It took paramedics 17 minutes to revive him, but the Richmond fan suffered a cardiac arrest and even though he was brought back to life, his brain had been starved of oxygen during the ordeal. Despite being announced brain dead, Alex's family and fiancée Kammi remained by his bedside for six more days before they were told he was not coming back. The news was devastating for everyone, especially his fiancée, whom Alex planned to wed in his parents' hometown on the island of Kythera, in Greece. The grief-stricken family farewelled Alex and decided to donate his organs. "Knowing Alex's generous and giving heart, and after consulting our daughter, Kammi and my wife Roula we decided that our son would have been absolutely ecstatic to know that his organs could help save other people's lives," says Manuel who has had some relief knowing that one little girl took his son's heart and the remainder of his main organs are not forever lost. "Although it didn't take the grief and the pain of loss away, it was certainly healing to know that we have done something to save another life. We couldn't be given a better gift than that." Alex's family can appreciate that organ donation is a sensitive matter, since there are a lot of people not familiar or comfortable “No parent can ever come to terms with losing a child, but it’s comforting to know our Alex has already given the gift of life to others,” says his father Manuel Pappos Alex Pappos (centre) and his father, Manuel (left), celebrating Richmond’s victory. Shortly afterwards, Alex would suffer a fatal asthma attack. with the issue, but for them, giving other people a chance to life through their own tragedy was a way to turn a very traumatic and devastating outcome into something positive. Organ donation occurs when a person allows an organ of theirs to be removed, legally, either by consent while the donor is alive or after death with the permission of the next of kin. Donation may be for research, or, more commonly, healthy organs and tissues may be donated to be transplanted into another person. The Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA) works with States and Territories, clinicians, the community sector and the general public to deliver the Australian Government's national program to improve organ and tissue donation and transplantation outcomes in Australia. The OTA leads the implementation of the national program in collaboration with State and Territory Medical Directors, DonateLife Agencies (one in each State and Territory) and hospital medical and nurse specialists in organ and tissue donation. These individuals and organisations comprise the DonateLife Agencies network, which also host the annual Thank You Day events nationwide. The day is dedicated to honouring all organ and tissue donors and their families. It also acknowledges the work of donation and transplantation specialists, joined by many other health professionals, who care for donors, recipients and their families. Last year alone, 148 Victorian families made the decision to donate their loved ones' organs, saving the lives of 389 people. "This is an incredible act of generosity, made during times of great personal loss," says DonateLife Victoria State Medical Director Dr Rohit D'Costa. Mr Pappos says that the amount of care and utmost respect that's shown towards the deceased and their families during and after the donation process is remarkable. "As far as the events go, they are just another special way for the family members of the donors as well as the recipients to meet and share their stories. It actually gives everyone a sense of belonging which is achieved through the mutual respect and understanding displayed by all parties." The annual 'Thank you Day' in Melbourne is scheduled for Sunday, 18 November. To register to become an organ and tissue donor, and to find out more about Thank You Day, visit donatelife.gov.au Neos Kosmos honoured at the 2018 HACCI Excellence Awards Gala Father and son, Dimitrios and Christopher Gogos received the Bank of Sydney Award for Business Excellence NIKOS FOTAKIS Neos Kosmos was honoured last night at the annual HACCI Excellence Awards Gala, an event held to acknowledge the best and brightest of the Hellenic-Australian community. Recognised as the premier business and community awards for the Hellenic Australian community, the Hellenic Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Excellence Awards acknowledge and reward organisations and individuals that have achieved excellence in seven distinct areas of endeavour. Dimitrios and Christopher Gogos were the recipients of the Bank of Sydney Award for Business Excellence, in recognition of the ongoing contribution that Neos Kosmos has been making to the Greek community, throughout six decades of continuous publication. A migrant from Chios, Dimitrios, also known as Takis, arrived in Australia in 1950 and has made a significant mark in the community, through his involvement in a series of organisations and initiatives. He was also an active member and executive of the Greek Orthodox community of Melbourne and Victoria as well as the secretary of the Pan-Hellenic association Orpheus, which developed cultural events and services in support of newly settled Greek immigrants. His work led to the establishment of a Modern Greek Department at the University of Melbourne while he was a founding member of the Antipodes Festival. But his outstanding contribution to the community is the newspaper he founded in 1957. For 61 years, Neos Kosmos has been telling the stories of the people within the Greek Community, fighting for social justice and for democracy. Taking up the mantle from his father, Christopher Gogos is steering Neos Kosmos into the digital age. The full list of recipients of the HACCI Excellent Awards, that were held last night at the Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne, reads as follows: -The Spiros Stamoulis Award for Lifetime Achievement : Dimitrios Alexopoulos and Cathy Alexopoulos -The Bank of Sydney Award for Business Excellence: Dimitris Gogos, Neos Kosmos -The Award for Sporting Excellence, awarded by Heidelberg United Football Club: Peter Filopoulos -The Award for Community Service, awarded by Pronia: Anastasios Stathopoulos -The Award for Professional Excellence, awarded by Moore Stephens: George Donikian -The Chris Saristavros Award Dimitrios Gogos was presented with the Bank of Sydney Award for Business Excellence, in recognition of Neos Kosmos’ ongoing contribution to the Greek community. for Young Achievement: Kelly Euripidou -The Award for Women of Influence, awarded by Emirates: Suzi Dafnis The Awards ceremony was part of a glamourous night that included a gourmet dinner and top quality entertainment including acts like Strofes Band, Gertrude Opera, George Kapiniaris and the 14-year-old Greek Australian prodigy Jason Mavroudis, culminating to an authentic Greek glendi on the dancefloor! "I wish to congratulate all of tonight's award nominees and recipients. I stand here tonight extremely proud as a Hellenic Australian, as I am sure you are too, having heard our award winners' outstanding achievements, success and contributions made in their respective fields and to the wider community," said HACCI Chair Georgegina Poulos. A more extensive report, featuring photos from the glamorous event, will be featured in Monday's Greek edition of Neos Kosmos.
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