By Bejay Browne
HUNDREDS of people will take part in a 10km long walk in Limassol on Sunday raising awareness of drunk driving and its devastating effects.
The event is being organised by a Limassol-based foundation and all of the funds raised will be used towards the improvement of the psychological health of children.
Last year’s walk was the biggest so far when some 850 people took part and raised approximately €35,000.
The Dancing Queen Foundation was set up by family members and friends’ of Dr Yiota Demetriou who was tragically killed by a drunk driver in New York in 2008.The driver of the taxi in which she was a passenger was also killed.
The 30-year-old was due to receive her doctorate just two weeks after the tragedy and was planning to return to Cyprus to help children facing all aspects of mental health issues. She was posthumously awarded the title of ‘Doctor (Psy.D) by her professors on December 5, 2008.
Her family and friends decided to try to do something positive in her memory and The Dancing Queen foundation was set up in her honour in January 2009. Dancing Queen was her nickname, due to her free spirited, fun-loving nature and love of dancing.
Yiota’s brothers Andreas, 31, and Kyriacos, 28, are the foundations president and vice president. Last year they helped around 40 children, this years number have swelled to around 65.
Andreas said: “These kids and teenagers are facing different mental health challenges and we help when parents are unable to cover the costs of therapy.”
Demetriou said the foundation works mostly with children from low-income families. They range in age from toddlers to teenagers, and there is no age limit.
The foundation is helping youngsters facing a wide range of difficulties; some require speech therapists, others have other learning difficulties, whilst some are suffering from depression.
From 2009 until September 2014, the foundation raised in excess of €200,000.
Andreas said: “We have seen a massive increase in the numbers of people applying for help this year, as more parents are unable to cover the costs of therapy.
We have criteria that the applicants must meet, most importantly that they are unable to pay for treatment.”
Each of the applications goes through a review by the board and an evaluation process.
Application forms for assistance are available to download from the website in both Greek and English.
The upcoming 10km fundraising walk is titled: ‘I’d rather walk than drink and drive’ and will take place at 8.30am on Sunday along the coastal walkway in Limassol, starting out from Dolce Club and finishing at the end of Molos.
Participants are asked to arrive no later than 8am T-shirts will be handed out and they must hand over their sponsorship forms and funds.
Requests for a sponsorship form should be sent to [email protected]
Alternatively visit the website www.dancingqueenfoundation.com
Tel: 25 818140