The Greek Division
The Greek Division of Ronald McDonald House® New York began in 1979 with the partnership of two friends who shared a dream: to support children and families suffering through the trials of pediatric cancer treatment.
President Emeritus Vivian Harris met Mrs. Niki Sideris through Niki’s volunteer work as a translator for European families receiving medical treatment through New York Hospital and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and a bond was formed.
At first, Niki continued as a translator but immediately recognized the need for a fundraising effort on behalf of the House. She focused her energies within the Greek community both in New York and her native country Greece. Niki’s efforts had a direct impact on the many families who’ve walked through the doors of our House over the past 34 years, including over 10,000 Greek families. In 1988, Niki was named, officially, Chairman of the Greek Division of Ronald McDonald House of New York. Her accomplishments, amongst many, include raising money to help fund the construction of our current location on East 73rd Street. Today, the Greek Division focuses its efforts on two major fundraising events each year: the annual Greek Division Walk-a-Thon each May and the annual Greek Division Christmas Party each December.
Niki’s philosophy was simple. She raised funds for all of the children and families who require services, not just Greek families because she believed that pediatric cancer does not recognize differences in nationality, race or religion.
The Greek community had responded to her efforts in immeasurable ways and in return, Niki’s introduction of the House and its many services to Greek and Cyprian families abroad has had a profound effect on the lives of those children and families desperate for Hope.
Niki’s enthusiasm and commitment to Ronald McDonald House of New York was incalculable. 2009 marked the 30th Anniversary of the creation of the Greek Division of Ronald McDonald House of New York and over 20 years as the Division’s Chairman. In 2008, both Niki Sideris and Vivian Harris became inaugural recipients of the Ronald McDonald House of New York Hope Awards, an honor which recognizes four individuals each year who have gone above and beyond to inspire Hope in the lives of children and families living with pediatric cancer.
Niki was a force to be reckoned with, but she was always a lady who knew her community. Her loss was felt very deeply and we mourn her passing. There’s seldom a day that passes where one of says, “That’s something Niki would have said” or “Niki would want us to do that to help that person”.
We all know in our hearts that she wanted her work to continue to grow and advance beyond her earthly days; in that spirit a special committee has been convened to perpetuate her vision. For more information please contact Spiridoula Katechis at 212-639-0218, or firstname.lastname@example.org.