The Greek and wider Australian community came together on Wednesday, October 11, at Le Montage in Sydney in support of the Jenny Souris Foundation’s (JSF) fundraising gala for families facing critical illness.
The JSF was founded in February 2021 in honour of the matriarch of the Souris family, Jenny Souris, who passed away in 2020 after a 10-year battle with metastatic breast cancer and chronic myeloid leukaemia.
Since its establishment, the foundation has worked hard to provide funding for families and individuals who are suffering financial burdens that arise due to illness.
On October 11, the JSF fulfilled its philanthropic mission once again by raising more than $110,000 at this year’s fundraising gala. The monies raised will be shared between two recipients for the purchase of specially modified vehicles which will ease some mobility concerns in their day to day lives.
The night itself was filled with moments of inspiration and empowerment as attendees enjoyed a number of speeches from Mina Souris (Jenny’s husband), as well as Maria Souris (Jenny’s daughter). Also speaking were the CEO of M&J Chickens (Major Partner), Sam Phylactou, family friend Stacey Trip, and Megan Maack. Megan was one of the recipients of the funds and she spoke on behalf of her children Isla and Jude who have been diagnosed with early childhood dementia.
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs Chairman, John Khoury and CEO, Aaron Warburton, as well as Bulldogs club legends Hazem El Masri, Josh Reynolds and James Graham were also in attendance.
When speaking to the crowd, Mr Souris thanked everyone for their support of the JSF.
“The real reason we are all here is to raise much needed funds to provide two families with a better quality of life. To keep a sick mother at home with her family, two give two sick children the freedom to leave the house and most of all, to give them the ability to create wonderful memories with one another. Memories that I know will be with them forever,” Mr Souris said.
“Let’s continue to work together and provide hope and support to help someone’s life.”
His daughter Maria gave an update on the recipient of last year’s fundraising effort – Angelina Lati, a young woman struggling with early childhood dementia. She stressed how last year’s fundraising gala raised enough funds to provide 12 months of medication for Angelina which has given her a better quality of life.
The remainder of the event provided an unforgettable evening of inspiring stories from Ms Trip about how the Souris family took her in and loved her like their own daughter, as well as Ms Maack who shared her daily struggles as she fights for her children to have a meaningful life despite their early childhood dementia diagnosis.
There was also plenty of live entertainment by a magician, live auctions and a shared dedication to making a positive difference.
“The night was a great success and it exceeded our expectations,” Maria said in a statement to The Greek Herald after the event.
“The generosity in the room was very humbling. We thank the recipients for attending. We hope we can make even a small difference to their lives. We thank everyone that attended and hope their support will continue to next year.”