It was heartening news to hear that Jim Vlassopoulos underwent a successful kidney transplant on July 25, 2016 at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Centre in the US. Jim was suffering from a genetic kidney disease which had him on dialysis on a daily basis. A Facebook page was launched to raise awareness of Jim’s condition and to seek an organ donation. The outcome was positive with a suitable donor found in Israeli Yogev Azulay, a total stranger to Jim, who generously and altruistically gave Jim the gift of life.
Kathy (Nina) Vlassopoulos, Jim’s second cousin, here in Melbourne, relates Jim’s dream prior to the transplant: “I want to wake up in my house in Platrithia and feel the sense of security my family gave me growing up. I need that familiarity so much, that feeling of belonging. Spring and summer, with its warmth and smells”. Jim will now have the opportunity to do this.
Jim is the son of the late Anastasi and Louisa Vlassopoulos (Kioukiouris). Anastasi was a member of the Society, living in Melbourne for a number of years before returning to live permanently in Ithaca.
The Ithacan community in Melbourne and Ithaca have been supportive in promoting the Saving Jim Facebook page and fundraising events to assist with expenses related to the transplant totalling around $US200 000. You can still donate to this cause. For details go to http://hagaigeffen.wix.com/saving-Jim
Extract of a message recently posted on Facebook by Jim’s wife Galit:
“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to you our dear friends, for your kind words of support, for your generous donations and for everything you have done for us. It is extremely heartwarming and we are humbled by your gestures. We can assure you that your support has given us the strength and courage to overcome this challenging period and we are now looking forward to what lays ahead, full of optimism and a strong zeal for life and all it has to offer. The experience has touched our lives in so many ways and we will be forever grateful for the miraculous outcome”.
Jim is pictured centre in the photo above. To the left is his family, wife Galit and five children from oldest to youngest – Kaili, Kleon, Naeli, Anjel and Yvie. To the right is the kidney donor Yogev with his wife Liora and their child Yehuda.