Residents of Kozani in northern Greece have embarked on a campaign to raise 30,000 euros so that a 12-year-old boy can fly to Houston in the US to receive treatment for a rare bone disease at a specialized medical center.
The cause of Alexandros Melissinos, the youngest of a five-member family, has been embraced by the local community in its entirety – from individual citizens and shopkeepers to schools and sports clubs.
The effort will culminate on Sunday, January 21 with an open-air rally in the city’s central square in support of the 12-year-old, organized by the local association of soccer clubs, the municipal cultural association of Kozani and welfare groups.
The rally will reportedly be attended by famous soccer players, coaches, actors and singers, while money boxes will be placed around the square for donations.
Alexandros was diagnosed with the rare bone disease after he was hospitalized for a broken leg sustained while playing soccer. He is currently staying at the guest house of the ELPIDA oncological center in Athens.
The boy’s father, Gennaios Melissinos, said he was overwhelmed by the response of the local community.
“I never had any doubt about my city and its people, but I never expected such a response and such a warm reception,” he told local media.