A father’s enjoy understands no bounds, and Costa Ioannou needed his daughter to know that he would climb mountains for her.
So he did.
Right after 9 days of hiking, Ioannou attained the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. He established out on the journey in memory of his 9-calendar year-previous daughter, Joanna, who handed away in her slumber from sudden unexpected loss of life in epilepsy in 2018.
The January journey was bodily and emotionally complicated, but the Whitestone father was identified to access the leading, wherever he understood Joanna would be seeking down from the spirit world.
“Nothing was heading to make me end. I was likely to do it,” Ioannou claimed. “I climbed a mountain to show my youngsters I would do anything for them.”
Positioned in Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is the best single no cost-standing mountain in the globe at 19,341 ft previously mentioned sea degree. When he achieved the top rated, Ioannou broke down in tears.
Nevertheless the Journey for Joanna was an prospect for Ioannou to show his everlasting enjoy her his daughter, it was also supposed to elevate recognition of SUDEP. Joanna endured seizures for the duration of her earliest years, but went without them for about 6 several years prior to her epilepsy returned and took her lifetime.
There is no treatment for SUDEP. Rather than inquiring for bouquets following Joanna’s dying, the Ioannous set up the Joanna Sophia Basis and gathered donations. Proceeds are forwarded to the Cameron Boyce Foundation, named for the younger Hollywood actor who succumbed to the ailment in 2019, and distributed to families struggling to spend hefty medical center costs.
Ioannou’s excursion raised $20,000.
Joanna still left driving her father, mother Maria Teresa and three siblings: Isabella, Andriana and Raphael. Ioannou described how crucial it was that they smile when they consider of their late sister instead than stew in their unhappiness.
“When I misplaced my daughter it overshadowed almost everything. I was a wreck for months, but I have a few little ones wanting at me as the basis of the relatives … In Greek and Italian lifestyle, we wear black when an individual passes, but we didn’t want that to define my daughter’s everyday living so we did the reverse. We turned it into anything good,” Ioannou stated of the foundation, which organizes 5Ks and other fundraising gatherings for epilepsy research.
“[Her siblings] grew up overnight and misplaced their innocence. We needed to teach them to delight in their existence in the actual physical world just before they enter the non secular earth,” he continued, stating his solid belief the spouse and children will reunite in the afterlife.
Ioannou had at first planned to climb the mountain on his individual so that he could disconnect with hectic town lifestyle and actually reckon with his reduction. His close buddy, George Isaakidis, finished up becoming a member of him for the journey, along with four other strangers from other sections of the planet. The group grew shut through their excursion, and Ioannou claimed he was ready to rejoice each his have and his daughter’s lives.
“Be optimistic. Really do not sit down and overlook lifestyle, the excitement. We’re all going to go sometime,” Ioannou reported, including that his daughter life on via her family and her foundation.