When Meresini Leivere’s story of how she’d fallen victim to a car scam and lost nearly $9000 aired on Channel 9’s A Current Affair, Greek Australian Nicholas Karagiannis was glued to the screen. He knew he needed to do something to help.
The Team Manager rallied together a team from his Homebush business, Crash Claim, and started a fundraiser to help Ms Leivere get a Hilux – the same type of vehicle used in the Facebook Marketplace scam.
“We were moved by Mereseini’s journey…” Mr Karagiannis tells The Greek Herald.
Since spending her remaining savings on another car, Ms Leivere had been working nearly every day to get the money back.
She was desperate to have the funds to return to Fiji to gain selection for the country’s Olympic and World Cup rugby 7’s team – a dream she’d been working towards for years.
Mr Karagiannis says he could see the drive and passion in Ms Leivere’s eyes to make her Olympic dream a reality and that only made him more determined to help out.
“Accomplishing any dream is hard work with many obstacles along the way and having something like what Meresini experienced can not only be soul destroying but a huge set-back,” he says.
“Being on our own journey, we know this would have been a difficult set-back and wanted to reach out and lend a hand. With all the negative going on in the world right now, we also wanted to show that goodwill and good people do still exist.”
And that’s exactly what they did.
Through a GoFund Me page, Mr Karagiannis and his team at Crash Claim, managed to raise $20,000 all up, with some funds going towards the purchase of the Hilux, and the remaining $5,000 being given to Ms Leivere as a cheque.
There was no shortage of tears from Ms Leivere and the Crash Claim team.
“The entire team were pumped to say the least and loved being able to make a difference,” Mr Karagiannis tells The Greek Herald.
Mr Karagiannis is the driving force behind Crash Claim, which he founded in April 2019 with his wife. The business is well-known for providing a quality service to people who have had a motor vehicle accident.
Over the years, he has also been a prominent member of Sydney’s Greek community, having supported a number of charitable events, including the 30 year anniversary celebration of his local Parish, St Stefanos Hurlstone Park, where $250,000 was raised and a donated car was raffled.
With such a strong background in philanthropic and charitable activities, it’s no surprise Mr Karagiannis has just added another thing to his Good Samaritan list.