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FeaturedFeatured ProfilesRunning for a Cause: Erica Kontos' Journey to Support Cancer Research

Running for a Cause: Erica Kontos’ Journey to Support Cancer Research

Aphrodite Kotrotsios
Aphrodite Kotrotsios
Publisher at the Hellenic News of America. The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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By Aphrodite Kotrotsios, Special to the Hellenic News of America

Erica’s journey to support cancer research is deeply personal, rooted in the profound impact cancer has had on her family. Despite experiencing personal losses, Erica’s commitment to making a difference shines through her participation in the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge.

“My yiayia and papou both passed away from cancer,” Erica shares. “But I had two very different experiences with each grandparent and their cancer journey.”

Erica’s papou passed away when she was just six years old, leaving her with only a few memories. Reflecting on his passing, Erica believes that advancements in cancer treatment available today could have potentially changed the outcome for him.

Erica pictured with her siblings, cousins, and beloved grandparents, Pappou Evripidis Kontos and Yiayia Evangelia Kontos

In contrast, Erica had the opportunity to spend 26 years with her yiayia before she passed away. Witnessing her grandmother’s daily struggles with cancer left a lasting impact on Erica. Despite significant progress in cancer treatment over the years, Erica recognizes the ongoing need for improvement, inspiring her to support the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

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As Erica prepares for the 2024 Boston Marathon, her perspective on cancer advocacy and education has been profoundly impacted. She acknowledges the alarming increase in cancer diagnosis rates, particularly in individuals under 50, emphasizing the urgency of supporting institutions like Dana-Farber.

“The work being done at Dana-Farber and other cancer centers is more critical now than it ever has been,” Erica emphasizes. “That’s all the motivation I’ve needed in my training for the race.”

Erica’s fundraising efforts are directed towards supporting the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research. This program funds groundbreaking research aimed at transforming cancer treatment, offering hope to current and future cancer patients.

“The Claudia Adams Barr Program really excites me because it affords current and future cancer patients a greater chance of beating this terrible disease through new and innovative treatment methods,” Erica explains.

Erica with her sister Demi and Pappou Dimitrios Patsalos

The outpouring of support from Erica’s community has been overwhelming. Friends, family, and colleagues have rallied around her fundraising efforts, underscoring the widespread impact of cancer on individuals and families.

“Almost everyone I’ve spoken with has had a direct relationship with cancer,” Erica notes. “Having such a human experience with cancer makes supporting this cause a no-brainer for a lot of people.”

Reflecting on her grandparents’ pivotal roles in her life, Erica sees her participation in the marathon as a tribute to their bravery and sacrifice. Running in their honor, Erica hopes to honor their memory and contribute to the fight against cancer.

“I owe my grandparents so much for the person I am today,” Erica reflects. “Running this marathon in their honor is just a small token of appreciation for their bravery and sacrifice.”

For those looking to support Erica’s initiative, donations to her fundraising page are still welcomed. By contributing to her cause, individuals can join Erica in her mission to make a difference in the fight against cancer.

To learn more about Erica’s journey and support her initiative, visit her fundraising page here. Additionally, you can explore Dana-Farber’s mission and work on their website here.

Together, we can make strides towards a future where cancer is no longer a threat, thanks to individuals like Erica who are dedicated to making a difference, one step at a time.

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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