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Paphos Local News September 2017

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.”
Dani was 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 children.

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.
The 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, she added.

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 is music.”

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 Dani’s appeal:

Or Bank of Cyprus, Rafaela Dimitrova, account number: 357013739469, Iban: CY29002001950000357013739469
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.
He added 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 preserved.

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
The 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 card.

“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.
Two weeks 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.
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 awards.

“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 hotel.

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,” said Ilia.

Nominations for the awards will open at the end of September.

For further information:

Garden of memories for Archangel Michael hospice
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 said.

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 far.

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: 97631734


Paphos Zoo celebrates as hand reared tiger boosts population in wild
By Bejay Browne
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 help.

“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 population.

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 international attention
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.
Browne’s 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 other countries.

“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 complex.

“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
By Bejay Browne
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.
Mathaios 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 a life.

“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 days.

“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 Kato Paphos.
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 tower.”
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 eat.

“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.



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