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The late Jenny Souris’ legacy lives on as family launch philanthropic foundation in her honour

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The late Jenny Souris will always be remembered as an exceptional and hard-working woman who was a true humanitarian. When she wasn’t helping her family out at M&J Chickens, she was spending her time supporting others through their personal struggles.

It is for this reason that shock resonated through Sydney’s Greek community in 2020 when news emerged that Jenny had lost her 10-year battle with metastatic breast cancer and chronic myeloid leukemia.

One year later in February 2021, Jenny’s family decided to honour the matriarch’s legacy and launched The Jenny Souris Foundation (JSF). The main mission of this foundation was to provide funding for families and individuals who are suffering financial burdens that arise due to illness. 

With such a worthwhile cause at its centre, The Greek Herald just had to find out more about what’s ahead for the foundation. To do this, we spoke with the co-founder of The JSF, Maria Souris, and this is what she had to say.

The late Jenny Souris.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Myself and my brothers, Michael and Harry, are born and raised in Australia. Both mum and dad are of Greek heritage from the small island of Kythera. Mum was born in Sydney, Australia and moved back to Kythera as a teenager with her family and then went on to meet my father. They were married in Greece and shortly after marrying they moved to Australia for an opportunity at a better life.

2. Why did you launch The JSF?

The JSF was established in 2021 in honour of my late mother Jenny Souris. My mum’s passion in life was helping others.

3. What services does the foundation provide?

We provide funding for families and individuals that are suffering the financial burdens that arise due to illness. Our aim is to eliminate financial obstacles and provide those who are fighting illness with HOPE and support.

The Souris family.

4. Why do you think it’s so important organisations such as The JSF exist in Australia?

Mum battled with illness for 10 years so we’ve experienced firsthand the costs associated with being ‘sick.’ Throughout her journey, mum would often be so distressed when thinking about what would happen to those who couldn’t afford the level of treatment that was afforded to her. Would they live those extra 10 years? Would they suffer? Would they be limited in treatment options?

Australia’s health care system is great for those that are relatively healthy. Unfortunately, those that need the most care have the longest wait times for treatment and then there’s out of pocket costs. The costs involved, especially for someone who is ill and more than likely unable to work, are just not affordable.

At the launch of the foundation.

5. You recently officially launched the foundation. What happened on the night?

On Wednesday, May 4, we held our first Gala Event at Doltone House Hyde Park. It was an elegant black-tie event. We had entertainment and live auctions. It was a very emotional night for our family. With over 300 people in attendance, it was an unbelievable turnout for a first event. We are truly humbled by the positive feedback and look forward to carrying this on annually.

6. You raised over $110,000 for Angelina Lati and early childhood dementia at the launch. Why did you choose to raise money for this cause?

Angelina’s story really hit home for us. I myself am a mother and the thought of this young girl potentially missing out on treatment due to cost was heartbreaking. We immediately connected with the story and just wanted to help.

READ MORE: ‘She’s fading away’: Niki Markou fights to save teen daughter after childhood dementia diagnosis.

Launch night of the foundation.

7. What are your future plans for the foundation?

Our vision is to help 20,000 Australians over the next 5 years. That’s a huge vision but in my opinion, this is so much bigger than that. It’s about uniting people and creating a community where people are supported and come together to provide one another with strength, encouragement and above all HOPE. A wise man once told me ‘η ελπίδα πεθαίνει τελευταία’ [hope dies last]. These are strong words for a person suffering. The importance of hope is undeniable.

8. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Our mother’s belief that it’s not so much what you get in life but more about what you give, has resonated with us so much more after experiencing her loss and I can honestly say that giving and contributing to something greater than yourself makes you feel complete.

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