Cleveland Greek churches band together to help organ transplant patient | Bob Sandrick

Maria Aslamazi is here from Greece to receive organ transplants at the Cleveland Clinic. Local Greek churches are raising money for her stay. (Jim Ganotis)

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Before Maria Aslamazi left Greece to wait for organ transplants at Cleveland Clinic, someone offered her advice: seek out Greek churches here if trouble hits.

Good advice. While Aslamazi and her mother Elmira Dimidou are staying at Transplant House of Cleveland, they have no money for living expenses due to the debt crisis in Greece. Citizens have been able to withdraw only 60 euros a day from Greek banks, but because of debit card problems, Aslamazi hasn't been able to get any money for the last two weeks.

So Dimidou visited Sts. Constantine & Helen in Cleveland Heights, where she met the Rev. Stephen Callos. He helped mobilize Cleveland's tight-knit Greek community, centered around four churches that have grown from Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Tremont, established in 1937.

Annunciation used its phone messaging system to alert parishioners, and more than $1,000 was raised for Aslamazi in one day on YouCaring, a crowdfunding website. Continue reading