THE BATTLE WITH CANCER
Thank you for the honor to continue to listen to my second speech, but for me it is very important and for others as well. If I have the strength to stand up before you, it is because I had the strength to stand up before life and claim it. This happened due to the endless love of my husband John, my children Konstantine,Rania and John-Nicholas Jr, as well as, my three beautiful grandchildren Isabella-Rania, Konstantine-John and Aristotelis.
I am grateful to my spiritual leaders that without their prayers and staunch support I wasn’t able to get such strength ,Father Alexander Karloutsos, Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Reverend Protopresbyter father Paul C. Palesty of Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Shrine Church, Hieromonach Georgios Alevras of Saint Mount Athos Greece, Carolyn B. Maloney, the U.S. # 1 proclaimed by public, the most effective Congresswoman of US, the Bouboulina for Greeks and Cypriot Americans , Katerina Panagopoulou, Ambassador of Greece in Europe’s Council for Athletics, Tolerance and Fair Play, Dionysia -Theodora Avgerinopoulou, Chairperson of the Standing Committee for the UN Affairs of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) ,Terry Neese, former National President of National Women’s Business Owners Kendedy for Congress, Edie Fraser, Chairman and Founder of STEM Connector and Million Women Mentors, Penelope Tsilas, former attorney in Congress library and philanthropist ,Phyllis Hill Slater, President and Owner of Hill Slater Group ,Daisy Gallagher, GGW CEO Global Brand Strategist ,Jackie Indelikarto , Jena International president and founder,Judy K. Sheppard, owner Professional Services of America , Gina Slater Parker, Founding President and owner Business Resource Connections . Net, Fotini Pomoni-Papaioannou, Emeritus Professor of the University of Athens,Nikoletta Tsitsanoudi,Associate Professor of Ioannina University , Natassa Spagadorou, CNN journalist, Pavlina Moustaka ,Business Consultant,Stamatia Trivoulides, reknown artist-painter and poet, Bonnie Swasy, President of Alliance Rubber Company, Vicky Tsolis, real estate business owner, Lana Kim, author and journalist, Bonnie Cherbowsky, President of leaders magazine- entrepreneur , Celia Ipiotis, author-journalist , tv producer and from the love and respect from lifetime friends all over the world.
First and foremost, my first doctor, Dr. Maria Theodoulou from Sloan Kettering Memorial, Dr. Kimberly Vanzee, Dr. Richard Wang, dr Amitabh Gulati and dr Prince just to name a few. But the icing on the cake was when Gus (Constantine)Kostalas, who was the CFO of Lenox Hill Hospital at that time, currently the Senior V.P. of Managed Care for the entire Northwell Health system, said “Loula from now on Lenox will be your home”.The doctors from Lenox that I wish to thank are Dr. Jill Kalman Executive Director of Lenox Hill Hospital, Dr. Bushra Mina, dr Alice M. Police, Dr. Richard Lazaro, Dr. Stephen Nicholas, Dr. Souhel Najjar, Dr. Firas M. Chamas ,Dr. Panagiotis Manolas and dr Jonh Getsos, to all of whom I am so grateful and all the nurses that are like guardian angels. Cancer would be my challenge, and I did my first mastectomy in February the 14th 1996, the first of many operations I had to undergo, a procedure that I decided to go through completely alone, returning to Athens-Greece. I chose to do so in order not to disturb the education of my children. My heritage as an offspring of Kosmas Aitolos demanded me to act so.
23 years on and I still fight, but It is not your pity that I claim from you, It is your courage that I want to bring out and tell you this: If you truly want to live, you will live.
The gift of life is handed to me still to this day, I believe not only due to my strength and perseverance and my unshakeable faith to God , but also because of my persistence to help families and sick from cancer children from Greece and US and devote my life into using all my experience and power helping and support others.
Loula Loi Alafoyiannis