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Raising Awareness for Leonidas: A lifesaving fund by Marigo Sfaelos, of an 8-Year-Old Battling Acute Flaccid Myelitis

Leonidas, an 8-year-old boy from Athens, Greece, faced a life-altering challenge at the tender age of four. One day, he suddenly lost the ability to move, leading to a diagnosis of Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), a rare and severe condition impacting the nervous system. This illness, often emerging from a simple cold, has life-threatening long-term impacts, including limb weakness and impaired muscle response.

In a desperate bid to save their son, Leonidas’ family relocated to the United States, where he was admitted to the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore in November 2019. Since then, Leonidas has required continuous outpatient care, necessitating multiple visits a week.

The Harsh Realities of Living with AFM

Living with AFM has been an uphill battle for Leonidas and his family. He relies on a ventilator and gastrostomy for daily survival. His condition renders him immobile, capable only of seeing and speaking. Despite these challenges, Leonidas’ spirit remains unbroken. His love for life, chess, and the Milwaukee Bucks, particularly inspired by the 'Greek Freak' Giannis Antetokounmpo, keeps his optimism alive.

Leonidas smiling

Financial Struggles and Community Support

The family's move to the U.S. was not just an emotional but also a financial upheaval. The costs of living and medical care are astronomical. A recent spinal surgery in September 2023 amounted to $200,000, and ongoing needs include spinal implant adjustments, wheelchair modifications, ventilator maintenance, dedicated nursing care, and physical and occupational therapy.

To support Leonidas, a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $50,000 has been launched. Marigo Mihalos Sfaelos, connected with Leonidas through family friends, spearheads this initiative. She emphasizes the importance of community support in such dire times and the need to be a helping hand to others.

A Beacon of Hope and Resilience

Leonidas' story is not just one of struggle but also of immense courage and resilience. His condition has not dampened his spirits; instead, it has fueled his passion for life and learning. The family hopes to acquire an eye/voice-controlled computer to aid his education and a wheelchair van for his medical visits.

How You Can Help

Every contribution, big or small, can make a significant difference in Leonidas' life. Donations will aid in covering his medical and living expenses, ensuring he continues to receive the best possible care and maintains his cheerful disposition. Let us come together to support Leonidas and his family in their journey, proving that no one has to face such challenges alone. Learn more on the official GoFundMe for Leonidas.

"I watched one of Leonidas' dreams come true over an iphone screen and felt the power of what ONE ENORMOUS gesture (thanks to Basketball Star Giannis Antetokounmpo) can do." -Marigo Mihalos Sfaelos

Leonidas smiling


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