Young rowing coach Kostas Symeonides on Sunday completed his challenge to paddle from Crete to Cyprus raising over €30,000 for charity.
Reaching the shore at Limassol’s Atlantica Bay at 6:30pm, he was greeted by friends and supporters to cheer him on as he completed the final strokes of the 700km journey on his paddle board.
His challenge began on August 19 from the easternmost end of Crete and through sponsors, raised €33,000 which has been donated to the Centre for Preventive Paediatrics.
Speaking to the press during the charitable event titled ‘I paddle for life, I paddle for children’ he said he was satisfied with the result and ready for some good rest after a difficult journey.
The first three days were the hardest, he added, due to terrible weather conditions coupled with the fact that one of the accompanying boat engines broke down leaving the whole team exposed to the risk of being stranded in the middle of the sea.
We were all relieved when we could see Cyprus, he told journalists, something that eased the efforts on the last few days.
Symeonides handed the cheque to the Centre for Preventive Paediatrics chairman Dr. Argyri Argyriou who thanked him and his team, pledging they would “keep up the fight for all of Cyprus’ children.”
Argyriou said the money raised through one individual covered a significant portion of their €600,000 budget, half of which is covered by the state.
The remaining amount is raised through sponsors and used to offer free preventative programs for pregnant women and new-borns across Cyprus, as well detecting deafness, hearing impairment, Down Syndrome and hypothyroidism.
This is Symeonides’ third charitable feat. In 2013, along with Nicos Karoilis he paddled upright for 12 hours in an 80km journey from Paphos to Limassol raising €13,900 for Cyprus Red Cross.
In 2014, a 400km challenge from Kastellorizo to Limassol raised €35,000 which went to the Center for Preventive Paediatrics.