Six year old blind boy on his way to sight
By Bejay Browne
Doctors in Russia believe that
a blind six-year-old boy from Paphos will eventually gain
his sight after a series of ground breaking operations, the
first of which was carried out successfully.
Iordanis Demetrof (Dani) was
born blind and has recently returned from a trip to Russia
where he underwent the first of a series of treatments
invented by a renowned Russian professor, Ernst Muldashev.
His treatment has only been made possible by fundraising and
donations from supporters and well-wishers.
After rigorous tests, doctors
in Russia came to conclusion that Dani currently only reacts
to light in one eye.
“If Dani undergoes a series of
regular operations over a few years, they are positive that
Dani will start seeing,” Dani’s grandmother, Neli Yordanova,
told the Paphos Post.
For more serious results time
is needed. Probably three or four treatments are needed, she
added. “Professor Mudashev personally made the operation and
said in the future he will be able to see.”
born blind and was diagnosed with severe optic disc
hypoplasia by a specialist at Great Ormond Street Hospital
in London. So far, his treatment has been a success, as he
was previously unable to walk and was 100 per cent blind.
The youngster now speaks two
languages, can take things in his hands and plays with other
Dani won over the public when
he received a Cyprus Heart of Gold award in 2015 and
courageously walked, with the help of his mother, Rafaela
Dimitrova, for one of the first times to the stage to
collect his award.
Dani already had to undergo a number
of risky and painful treatments abroad, which have helped
him to react to light.
The latest treatment took place
in Russia and surgery used a biomaterial called Alloplant,
this can help when standard medicine cannot. It was invented
by Muldashev and when inserted into a body, stimulates the
regeneration of the recipient tissues.
operation, the stay in the clinic and the airline tickets
cost around €5000 and in six months’ time, it is necessary
that the opposite procedure is carried out, a small
operation on Dani’s right eye and a larger one on the left,
Further operations every six
months must be carried out for the treatment to work, and it
is not yet clear how many he will need, and therefore how
much it will cost in total.
“Dani already has appointments
booked for December 2017 and June 2018. It depends on the
type of the operation each time and the treatments after
that as to how much it will cost,” said Yordanova.
Dani said: “I enjoyed my stay
in Russia and I really wish to be able to see the world
around me. I like going to school and the thing I like most
Media appeals, social media
appeals, a ‘go get funding’ page and events have all
contributed towards raising money.
“Dani and his family would like
to thank all of the people who have supported us on his
journey to sight, without you all, this would not be
possible,” Yordanova said.
To make a donation to
Or Bank of Cyprus, Rafaela
Dimitrova, account number: 357013739469, Iban:
To contact Dani’s family:
The old ‘fishing
village’ of Kato Paphos earmarked for upgrade
By Bejay Browne
An area in
Kato Paphos, close to Apostolos Pavlou- Saint Paul’s pillar,
known locally as the ‘old fishing village’ of Kato Paphos
will see upgrading work get underway by the end of the year.
The area, “Psarochori”, which is home to a number of
small streets and old traditional buildings will be upgraded
as part of an extension of other larger projects to connect
and unify the archaeological sites of Kato Paphos, according
to a Paphos municipality spokesman. It was granted €3.5m
when President Nicos Anastasiades announced €60m worth of
projects for Paphos in 2015.
The spokesman said that Paphos
Mayor Phedonas Phedonos, signed agreements with Simpraxis
Architects and PSquare Architects for architectural and
construction studies to get underway.
“The upgrading project will not
include the buildings of the area, but the radical upgrading
of the road network, the placing of services underground,
such as telecommunications, and the landscaping of the
squares and the wider area extending out from Saint Pauls’
pillar, in order to make it more attractive, accessible and
functional not only for local residents, but also for the
thousands of foreign visitors,” he said.
that the project will complement the larger works of the
unification of the archaeological sites of Kato Paphos,
bringing with it all of the obvious advantages for culture,
tourism and economy of the city.
The famed pillar of
Saint Paul which is popular with pilgrims and visitors, is
named after the saint who visited Paphos on a missionary
journey and is said to have been tied to the stone and
lashed for preaching Christianity.
It’s found next to the
church of Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa, which was built in
the 13th century over the ruins of the largest early
Byzantine basilica on the island. The floor of the basilica
was covered with colourful mosaics, some of which are still
Pope Benedict XVI also visited
the church and pillar in June 2010.
“Obviously no work will be
undertaken at the church or its grounds, but in the
surrounding areas to beautify it,” he stressed.
Under the terms of the contract, the architectural studies
and construction plans, along with the terms of the tender,
will be completed by October 17, he said.
“The public tender bidding
process will immediately follow and the start of the
construction works will get underway, probably before the
end of the year.”
Health minister to
grant treatment for cancer patient
By Bejay Browne
health minister has stepped in to grant a British expat
resident in Peyia a ‘special circumstances’ medical card
which will grant him access to essential cancer treatment to
save his life.
Following a story in the press
a few weeks ago highlighting the plight of Alan McIntyre,
58, who is in urgent need of chemotherapy, Health Minister
George Pamporidis has informed the cancer patient that he
will personally authorise a special circumstances medial
“I would like to pass on my
thanks to the minister of health for taking my situation
into consideration and for making this decision. I hope that
I will soon be able to receive the treatment that I need,”
said McIntyre, who served as a firefighter in Britain for 32
years before moving to Cyprus in 2009.
ago, McIntyre received a telephone call from the health
ministry, made on behalf of the Pamboridis who was out of
the country, to inform him that the minister has agreed to
grant him a medical card under the ‘special circumstances’
section of the regulations.
“I was told that this will be
confirmed shortly by letter and perhaps a further call
directing me to which hospital I should report,” he said.
The medical card approval must
be signed by the minister and so it will be a few more days
before McIntyre hears anything further, he added.
This is welcome news for the cancer patient as a few small
cancer cells which first showed up in his 2015 CT scan have
now spread to his liver and lung and are growing daily.
McIntyre was told by doctors that he needs a course of
twelve sessions of chemotherapy at a cost of around €7,000
to €8,000. A sum of money he simply doesn’t have, he said.
After taking early retirement
in 2009 and moving to Cyprus with his wife, McIntyre was
belatedly diagnosed with colon cancer in 2015 and went to
the private rather than public health sector for surgery
because of the urgency of the situation.
The operation and treatment to
remove a malignant tumour from his colon cost him around
€17,000, using up his entire savings and leaving no money
for the follow-up chemotherapy treatment he was prescribed.
McIntyre was informed that he
did not meet the criteria to obtain a Cyprus health card,
even though he said had applied on grounds of ‘special
circumstances’ covering only chemotherapy treatment. He does
not have the thousands needed to pay for it privately.
Green party MP, Charalambous Theopemptou who had promised to
help when he heard of McIntyre’s situation said he was
delighted with the outcome.
“I’m glad that Alan has finally
got the arrangements that he wanted and I hope that the
treatment starts as soon as possible. This is a happy ending
with this procedure, and I also hope for a happy ending with
his treatment. I would like to thank the minister personally
for this outcome,” he said.
Theopemptou added that the
minister informed him that he had never received an
application for a ‘special circumstances,’ medical card from
McIntyre has also put his home on the
market in a bid to raise money for treatment, but it is
still for sale nine months later.
He added that he felt
embarrassed about having to go public with his story, but
felt that it was the only way that his voice would be heard.
Hearts of Gold Awards celebrate ten years
By Bejay Browne
The tenth annual Hearts of Gold
Awards will be a special celebration of a decade of the
philanthropic awards which recognise exceptional children
and adults in the community, organisers said.
The non-profit organisation has
issued a call for sponsors and volunteers for this year’s
“We are planning an extra
special and exciting event this year and we would like to
thank our partners for their continued support. We would
like any interested sponsors of volunteers to come forward
as soon as possible,” a spokesman told the Paphos Post.
The annual celebrations, which
are supported by the municipality of Paphos, have gained in
popularity over the years and last year patron of the
awards, Marios Ioannou Ilia, announced that they would go
island wide this year.
“Until now, the awards have
been open to people in the district of Paphos, but in honour
of our 10-year celebrations, we will accept nominations from
all over Cyprus and are really looking forward to hearing
about all of the special children and people living in other
towns and communities,” he said.
The Hearts of Gold
Award Cyprus is a way to acknowledge and thank adults and
children who are extra special in some way. The public
nominates people each year who they feel are deserving, and
the winners are chosen by a panel of judges. The British
High Commissioner, Matthew Kidd, will be a guest judge at
this year’s event.
There are four main awards in
the 2017 programme which all recognise those who have shown
tremendous courage, strength and determination, or worked
tirelessly within the community or for charities, overcome
tragedies with a smile or have simply been a great help and
support to neighbours and friends. A number of special
mentions will also be awarded this year.
The winner of the adult and
junior Heart of Gold Award will receive a 10-year
commemorative solid gold pin, hand crafted by Aphrodite
Jewellers, a certificate, a bouquet of flowers, gift bags
and other prizes.
The adult winner will also
receive a weekend stay and dinner at a five star luxury
Although the awards are now
island wide, the event will remain in Paphos.
“It’s important that we keep
the event in Paphos as the community here was the
inspiration for these awards and it’s where it all began,”
Nominations for the awards will
open at the end of September.
For further information:
Garden of memories for Archangel Michael
By Bejay Browne
A group of British expat volunteers are raising funds for a
‘garden of memories’ due to be created at Archangel Michael
Hospice in the coming weeks at Mesa Chorio, Paphos.
The team consists of volunteers
from the Archangel Michael’s Hospice charity shop in Polemi,
and was the idea of Geoff Eccleston, 68, who set up the shop
and adjoining furniture store next door four years ago to
raise funds for the facility.
Eccleston moved to Cyprus with
wife Molly six years ago and wanted to volunteer for the
hospice after the death of his sister from lung cancer.The
volunteer then stepped down from managing the shop to become
project coordinator for the ‘Garden of Memories Appeal’.
“I wanted to create an area
where people can find some peace and tranquillity, to be
able to reflect and also to be surrounded by nature,” he
He said that the volunteers
decided not to call the area a garden of remembrance, as
there is no word in Greek for ‘Remembrance’ and instead it
will be known as a ‘Garden of Memories.’
The hospice is the second such
facility in the district, the first, the Friends Hospice
opened in 2006 and is found at a dedicated six-bed wing of
St George’s clinic in Paphos.
The St Michael hospice in Mesa
Chorio opened in June 2015 and has nine rooms used for
palliative and respite care, including two for children.
The theme of the garden will be
‘Memory-Reflection-Serenity’ and will offer peace, colour
and fragrance with a water feature, shaded seating areas and
areas where family and visitors can gather for refreshments
and conversation. The design will also allow for privacy and
quiet contemplation, he said.
The piece of scrub land which
sits next to the hospice and measures around 300 m2 has
already been cleared of overgrowth by volunteers, ahead of
works at the site which are due to get underway at the end
of September, said Eccleston.
Plans for the
wheelchair-friendly garden include seats with commemorative
plaques for those who wish to remember loved ones. Designers
are choosing plants with low-water consumption.
The garden team plans to
complete the area before Christmas so that decorated
Christmas trees can also be placed there. Ecclestone said
that top-end estimates for the completed garden are around
20,000 euros. The project has already raised 6,000 euros so
The project also has a
dedicated ‘GoGetFunding’ page.He stressed that donations for
the garden are separate from those to the hospice and no
money is being taken from the centre.
These plants can all be
purchased in memory of a loved one and an acknowledgement
will be placed next to them, he said. The list is available
from the hospice.
Eccleston said that anyone
interested in volunteering to help maintain the garden
should get in touch.
For further Information: Tel:
Paphos Zoo celebrates as hand reared tiger
boosts population in wild
Paphos zoo is celebrating as one of
their hand-reared Siberian tiger cubs is about to be
released into a protected forest in Russia to help increase
the dwindling numbers of the animals in the wild.
Ioulious Christoforou said that
he was ecstatic when he heard the news, as he hand-reared
the female tiger cub named Aphrodite for the first part of
her life. The female cub was born to Siberian tiger, Bonnie
and Clyde in April 2015 at Paphos Zoo, but her mother was
unable to produce enough milk, so Christoforou stepped in to
“This is a very proud moment
for all of us at the zoo and me in particular. I have a
special connection with Aphrodite and it was every hard to
say goodbye to her at the airport, I felt very sad, but I
knew that she could possibly contribute to a good cause and
now she is.”
Aphrodite was transferred to
the Lion Foundation in the Netherlands which has a
partnership with the Severtsov Institute in Russia. The Lion
Foundation, a non- profit organisation, is a rescue facility
for big cats established in 2012, with the aim of preparing
the animals for a return to the wild.
The Siberian tiger, also called
the Amur tiger, are a protected species. They can weigh over
300kg and live mostly in the mountain region in Russia.
Intense poaching and habitat loss are seriously threatening
the survival of Siberian tigers in the wild.
After extensive tests,
Aphrodite was paired with a male to assist in the
conservation of the protected species.
She was DNA tested
and found to be a pure bred Siberian tiger and perfect for
the programme, as she is strong, has a good temper and has
many good characteristics, Christoforou said.
“It is our dream to breed and
rehabilitate animals and birds back into the wild and help
protect them from extinction, and we are going some way
towards achieving our goal in assisting the conservation of
endangered species,” he said.
The tigers will now to travel
to Russia where they will be released into a protected
forest area. Any offspring they produce will be released
into the wild to help the struggling Siberian tiger
Paphos Zoo, which is licensed
from the veterinary department of the government, covers
100,000 square metres and opened in September 2003.
Paphos made documentary garnering
For the Love of God, a short documentary film made in Paphos
with no budget, has been selected to be screened at the
prestigious International Festival of Red Cross and Health
Films in Bulgaria in October.
Organised by the Bulgarian Red
Cross, under the auspices of the Federation of Red Cross and
Red Crescent Societies, the World Health Organisation and
Unesco, the festival gets an ‘A’ rating, the same as the
festivals in Cannes, Venice, San Sebastian, and others. It
highlights issues such as humanity, health and solidarity.
For the Love of God deals with issues of human rights,
freedom of religion, love, faith and persecution.
Directed and produced by Paphos-based filmmaker and
journalist Bejay Browne, the documentary is currently being
shown at festivals around the world.
20-minute film highlights the plight of Egyptian Coptic
Christian converts Maher and his daughter Dina Elgohary, who
fled to Cyprus from Egypt in November 2016, in fear of their
lives. Coptic Christians have been persecuted throughout
history and are often the target of intolerance and
sectarian violence. Copts in Egypt make up around 10 per
cent of the population – the largest religious minority.
Conversions from Islam to
Christianity are not officially recognised in Egypt.
Apostates live in daily fear of their lives, some flee to
“After meeting Maher and Dina,
I felt strongly that their story needed to be told using the
medium of film and I had to do it in a way which involved a
minimal outlay,” Browne said.
The filmmaker said she
is looking forward to participating in the Red Cross film
festival and accompanying forum, which will be held in
Varna, near the Black Sea, at the impressive Sok Kamchia
“I am very grateful to have
been invited to attend the event by the festival director
Ilko Raev. The idea of the festival is not only screening
films, but also a forum, where people meet to discuss
various humanitarian issues.”
Raev said that these
include the characteristics of Red Cross and Red Crescent
activities and topical issues like aggression and how to
handle the problem, and most importantly – how to depict
these humanitarian issues with the help of the cinema.
“The festival will help create
a greater awareness of the cultural characteristics of
people in different parts of Europe, and their traditions of
coexistence, mutual aid and volunteering. It will help to
educate society for tolerance and understanding,” he said.
Browne said that the film is a
significant project for her as she strongly believes it is a
basic human right to live in peace without facing daily
abuse and fear. She added that the differences between
people are what makes us unique and interesting, and only by
knowing others and opening our minds can we find the
strength to overcome fear and hatred.
“The social interaction between
us all, whatever our religion, culture or race needs to be
carried out with respect for others, and very importantly
for ourselves,” she said.
For the Love of God
premiered at the 12th Cyprus International film festival in
June, where Browne received an Honorary Mention. The film
was also part of the official selection for the 11th River
Film Festival in Italy. It was also shown as part of the
Associazione Contéiner in Veneto, Italy in August, and also
premiered in the USA at Salute your Shorts film festival in
Los Angeles on August 26th.
In September, the film
will have its UK premier at Vue cinema in Islington, London
as part of the 11th I Will Tell international film festival.
The Paphos crew is a small team
consisting of cameraman Giorgos Christanas, who also
co-edits with Browne, and Hannah Sampson, as the boom
operator and production assistant. The trio have already
started shooting their next documentary film which will
depict ageing in an inspirational form.
Browne spent much of her
childhood in Paphos and moved to Cyprus in 2006, where she
worked at local TV and Radio stations-as a producer,
director and presenter. In 2008 she joined the Cyprus Mail
and in 2010 she joined the Paphos Post.
Paphos lifeguards are overstretched and
appeal for more staff
Paphos lifeguards have reached breaking point
as beaches are full to bursting with tourists and locals,
and are desperate for extra staff and equipment, which they
say they were promised by the government.
Mathaiou, president of the Paphos Lifeguards’ Association
told the Paphos Post that more staff and more equipment was
needed urgently, before a disaster happens and someone loses
“We are appealing to the
authorities to step in and help us before it’s too late,” he
said, adding that they only have half the number of staff
that they need.
Over the main holiday period in
Cyprus, locals and tourists have flocked to the beaches,
stretching staff to breaking point, he said.
He also said that the jet ski
used by lifeguards at Coral Bay beach, a blue flagged beach
and one of the most popular spots on the island, was broken
and out of service, remaining idle and yet to be fixed for
“We have had many incidents
during the last few days where we have had to rescue people,
including two British children at Coral Bay, tourists aged 9
years and 12 years. They were rescued by the lifeguard
there,” he said.
A number of other rescues were also
made by the lifeguard at Coral Bay, and a British tourist in
his thirties was saved from drowning by another swimmer at
7pm, one hour after the lifeguard left the beach at the end
of his shift.
“This shows that we should be
working longer hours,” Mathaiou said.
He said that due to a shortage
of staff, each beach in the Paphos district has only one
lifeguard on duty covering the hours of 10.30am to 6pm, with
the exception of two stationed at both Sodap and Ta Bania in
He added that another incident at
Potima Bay in Kissonerga saw a lifeguard have to rush into
the sea to save a tourist from drowning. The tourist had
entered the sea despite a red flag on display.
The lifeguard head said that
this beach is a large area to cover and too much for one
person, and that the lifeguard put his own life in danger to
save the swimmer as the waves were huge. He noted that it
also meant that no-one was scanning the beach while he was
performing the rescue.
“This is very dangerous for us
and the public. Also, we are not having a break to eat as we
have no time, and we have to watch a huge expanse of
coastline with a high level of concentration. It’s also
difficult to take a toilet break as on most beaches the
toilet is some considerable distance from the lifeguard
He pointed out that the lifeguards were also
putting their own health in danger as currently the weather
is hot and humid and many are making it through the day only
on liquids as there is no time to grab even a small bite to
“We need more equipment, more
staff and we should be working longer hours, especially at
the popular beaches to ensure the safety of the public,” he
said. Mathaiou suggested that lifeguards should be working
on beaches from 6am to 8pm.
“We were promised more staff,
and we only got seven. We have 46 lifeguards covering 120
kilometres of coastline in the district of Paphos and we
need to have 96,” he said.
In June Paphos lifeguards
held a peaceful protest over conditions outside Paphos
district office over staff shortages, a lack of equipment
and long overdue upgrades to lifeguard towers.
Mary Lambrou, Paphos District
Officer, said that a total of ten new lifeguards were
employed in Paphos this year, a big improvement on last
year’s staff numbers, which stood at 36.