An 83-year-old Greek woman has offered her life savings to buy her town an ambulance, after having been disappointed by delayed responses over the years whenever her late husband or herself had needed to be admitted to hospital.
Athena Papachristou, who is a retiree farmer, donated the new ambulance to the local branch of the Greek National Centre for Emergency Response in Missolonghi, western Greece, under the condition that it will be used to serve the needs of the town’s hospital only.
On a humoristic note, the elderly benefactress has also asked that the ambulance gives a little toot in greeting each time that it happens to pass from in front of her house.
The ambulance cost the retiree 65,000 euros to buy. Living on a 400-euro monthly pension after a lifetime of hard work in farming, the donation took up all her life savings, and she also needed to sell a land plot to afford buying the ambulance for her fellow citizens.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and PASOK party leader Nikos Androulakis reportedly called the 83-year-old benefactress to thank her for her generous gesture.
The moving life story of the Greek retiree ambulance donor
Born at the times of the outburst of World War II, Athena Papachristou lived a life of struggle, having lost both her parents at the age of two. She and her two siblings were raised by relatives and in orphanages, she told an interview with Greek public broadcaster ERT.
Happily married, Papachristou lived with her late husband for sixty years. During the last twelve of his life he faced serious health problems, which brought them both to witness the weaknesses of the Greek health system whenever they needed hospital admission.
“Before then, we didn’t get sick so we didn’t know,” she admitted in all honesty.
When Mrs Papachristou herself had also needed to be admitted to various hospitals in the area, there would either be no vehicle available or the ambulance would break down halfway.
In one case, she missed three appointments at the hospital of Patras to have her kidney checked due to ambulance unavailability, and when she was eventually picked up, the ambulance broke down on a bridge in the middle of nowhere. Eventually, she decided to order a taxi to avoid missing her doctor appointment for the fourth time. That was when she decided that she needed to do something about it.
“I thought, my husband is gone and so will I. So I sold a land plot to leave something behind. I want all the people of my region to be served,” she reportedly said.
Source: Greek Reporter