Τhe A. G. Leventis Foundation ‘Greece in Crisis’ Initiative
In 2012 the A. G. Leventis Foundation launched an initiative to support ‘Greece in Crisis’, offering assistance to organisations working on alleviating poverty and ensuring the welfare of vulnerable or underprivileged social groups. The aim was two-fold: to reach individuals experiencing hardship across the community, and to help organisations doing important social work in Greece to survive the increasing strain caused by the financial crisis, namely to respond to the challenge of helping the rising numbers of those in need despite dwindling resources. The ‘7 Marathons on 7 Continents for 7 Charities’ initiative undertaken by Harry David is also aimed at supporting Greek charities at a time of need. In the context of ‘Greece in Crisis’, donations were made to help children (SOS Villages, Eliza, Kivotos, Agalia), charities involved in food distribution (Food Bank) and the alleviation of poverty (Praksis, Monastery of the Virgin of Kykkos), organisations offering medical treatment/supplies (Medecins Sans Frontieres, Medecins du Monde), and those that care for and support individuals dealing with life-threatening or debilitating illnesses (MDA Hellas, Cerebral Palsy Greece, Merimna, Agios Nikolaos, Heliotropio and Nestor, amongst others.
Melathron Evgerias, Nicosia
The Melathron Evgerias in Nicosia is a home for the elderly and was one of the first projects completed by the Republic of Cyprus. It was founded in 1960 at the initiative of Makarios III, the Archbishop of Cyprus, Chrysostomos, the Αbbot of the Holy Monastery of the Virgin of Kykkos, and Anastasios G. Leventis, who assumed the costs of its construction. It was completed with contributions from the Beneficent Brotherhood of Nicosia and philanthropic citizens. The home was designed by the internationally acclaimed architect Polyvios Michaelides, one of the leading representatives of Modernism in Cyprus. Recently, the Archbishopric of Cyprus, the Kykkos Monastery and the A. G. Leventis Foundation agreed to renovate the Melathron Evgerias. Work on the A. G. Leventis Wing has already begun.
The Artemis Association for Histiocytosis
The research project supported by the A. G. Leventis Foundation is titled ‘Cell Autonomous Mechanisms in the Pathogenesis of Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH)’ and relates to the discovery of a genetic mutation found in half of LCH samples tested. This mutation (called BRAF V600E) is found in several human tumour types and alters the transmission of signals from the cell surface to the nucleus. In this project, Professors Frederic Geismann and Matthew Collin are exploring how the mutation affects the behaviour of Langerhans cells and whether it is found in other cell types in LCH patients. Professor Geissmann has analysed 16 more LCH lesion samples and confirmed that BRAF mutations are present in 11/16 of them. Professor Collin is analysing how the signalling pathway of which BRAF is a part is influenced by V600E. He is using fluorescent dyes to detect changes in signalling molecules (called MEK and ERK) and has already shown that another molecule (Langerin) found in LCH is more easily expressed in blood cells from LCH patients than normal individuals.
Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) – Sickle-cell Project
The Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) is a global, nongovernmental, patient-oriented organisation working in official collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO). Its main mission is the protection of the rights of patients with haemoglobin disorders, mainly thalassaemia and Sickle-cell Disease (SCD), for access to quality health care. In the context of its expanded educational programme in 2010-2012, TIF has focused its activities on SCD with the valuable support of the A. G. Leventis Foundation through an operational grant. TIF has incorporated in its educational programme, including seminars, workshops, conferences, and delegation visits in Europe and globally, the subject of SCD by promoting and expanding awareness on prevention and management of medical complications in the paediatric population and other groups. In the last two years, TIF has arranged a number of delegation visits and workshops around the world and has focused on strengthening patient/parent support groups globally and on developing networks with existing SCD associations to include African countries also.