As a member of the small Greek community of Halifax, I know how much it means when a small group of people get together to make a change; it is challenging yet rewarding. Halifax being a small city in itself, word of events or organizations spreads like wild fire. Here is a success story about a few small groups getting together to make a change.
In spring of 2011, word around Halifax was that a Greek-Canadian woman from Ontario, Cathy, was suffering from Cancer, and the only hope of her survival was through a marrow match. No one in her family matched her marrow, and she was desperately hanging on to the hope that a match would turn up. Meanwhile, the GOYA of Halifax was touched by this story and the amazing hope and faith this Greek family of Canada was holding onto. Most of us had been touched by cancer, whether it be through family, friends or community members. We pledged to all make a difference by holding a marrow drive in our own community, something that had never been done before in the Greek community of Halifax. This drive was held in honour of all past community members, family members and friends who suffered from this disease.
The idea was a challenge, yet we decided to overcome it together. Word spread through the city of Halifax and fellow Halifax youth comities such as the Lebanese youth and the Italian youth also teamed up with us to organize the One Match Marrow drive at our community center. This partnership between the three communities was the first of its kind for all of the communities and led to friendships and bonds that would last a lifetime. It also lead to leadership and determination that would help in the future partnership between the three communities in other events. The passion that was seen from all the participants was remarkable.
The marrow drive was held on June 18th, 2011 at Saint George’s Greek Orthodox Church. It consisted of One-Match representatives as well as the youth group members volunteering their time and efforts to help people in need. It was a great success, which not only gave hope to the cancer patients desperately searching for a match, but also led to teamwork that hasn’t been seen in the community since the church was first built. This event brought together the youth groups of several different ethnic communities but also included the Philoptochos of our community, Ladies groups from other communities, as well as young people from across the Halifax Regional Municipality.
This experience has bridged the gap bridged between age and ethnicity that our city has never seen. It created trust and friendship that will last a lifetime, working together for one cause. This was a powerful and personal experience that I will never forget. Today, Cathy is still fighting and staying strong. She’s always in our prayers.
written by Eleni Panagopoulos, Member