“Do not blame others for hurdles that you face, rather learn how to leap over them.”-
Joanna Sophia Foundation
New York.- by Catherine Tsounis
1100 persons of all ages attended the “First Fun Run” in memory of the late Joanna Sophia Ioannou. The “Fun Run” of the Joanna Sophia Foundation began Saturday, June 29th, at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 196 St. Northern Blvd. and concluded at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church on 15005 12th Avenue, Whitestone. New York. A Barbecue with acrobats and performers followed. Very Rev. Dionysios Anagnostopoulos performed a Memorial service in memory of 9 year old Joanna Sophia.
“We honored the wish of the family and did not hold a liturgy today so this philanthropic event could take place at our church,” said Father Dionysios. “The family is close to our church, having attended our schools. All four children attended our classes. We sympathize with the purpose of the Foundation to help all families in need. Our church is eager to help His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros in opening our church to all.” Father Dionysios’ devotion to Holy Cross church is shared by his family, the Anagnostopoulos, immigrants from Sgoura, Sparta. The 108th precinct had police barriers and excellent public safety.
Dr. Maria Sakatis Ioannou and her husband Kosta Ioannou and family hosted an exceptional philanthropic event. “On November 6, 2018, our beautiful 9-year-old daughter Joanna passed away in her sleep,” the family said. “This tragic event was a shock to our family and our entire community. Though this is a parent’s worst nightmare, we cannot succumb to the paralyzing grief we feel, because we need to stay strong for Joanna’s sisters, Isabella(12), Andriana(10) and baby brother Raphael(4).
Most importantly, we refuse to let Joanna’s tragic passing define her memory. We want to remember Joanna for her carefree personality and adventurous character. She would always try new activities without hesitation, even if she knew she would not be the best at it. Joanna was always smiling and singing and had a love for musicals. Her most recent love was “The Greatest Showman.” After Joanna passed away, we found the most wonderful video of Joanna singing “Never Enough” by Loren Allred and quickly, it brought some light into our life and guided us by its words.
In lieu of flowers at her funeral, we started a GoFundMe page. Our goal was to raise $10,000, but it remarkably reached over $110,000. Joanna inspired us to create The Joanna Sophia Foundation and to use the donated funds to help children and families in need. This page is our official fundraising platform where we will be posting events in her memory. Our objective is to inspire everyone to have Joanna’s positive outlook in life:
Work towards your goals; don’t wait for them to reach you on their own.
Do not be stagnant or overthink; be inspired to conquer your fears.
Do not blame others for hurdles that you face; learn how to leap over them.
Do not feel sorry for yourself, no one else will. Joanna’s foundation encourages you to get up and accomplish your goals in life.”1
I personally know the Sakatis family since the 1980’s. The passing of Joanna hurts too much to talk about it. We wish the Sakatis and Ioannou family good luck in their efforts. I would like to commend Father Dionysios Anagnostopoulos and the Holy Cross Church Board and community for making this event unforgettable. Visit https://www.joannasophiafoundation.org/.”