After my experience in the patients Association I was looking for the next step and the Praksis One-up platform seemed to be that step for me. I had to face many obstacles, namely constraints of human resources, financial resources, and expertise. Moreover, the needs of people with chronic diseases and disabilities cannot be reduced to a model consisting only of volunteers, financial contributions and donations. There was a series of activities of the Social Enterprise that we were trying to create and organize.
This is how we decided to upload our campain on One Up! A key goal for us was to activat society. The platform was a catalyst, as it was a most effective communication channel between Humane and every citizen. Although, the public in Greece is not familiar with the use of credit or debit cards the number of supporters was a positive surprise for us. People of various ages, from all over country and even the Greeks of the Diaspora have supported us. We were also contacted by various companies who showed great interest in our project.
But these are the measurable results that one can easily see. The BCC for us was not just a platform. They were our mentors and supported to produce a viable business plan. Their confidence and patience helped us to complete our first step, to set priorities, to simplify processes and ultimately achieve our goal. We felt safety and trust, and dared to overcome every hesitation, problem and obstacle. Eventually, the people at Praksis BCC helped us successfully complete our first step - with the active participation of the citizens!
Thank you all for your support!
My name is Dimitris Kontopidis, 33 years old, graduate in Graphic Design and bachelor in Architectural Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens. The past 4 years I have paused my studies due to my responsibilities as President and CEO of the Panhellenic Association of Cystic Fibrosis. I am strongly engaged in claiming the rights of the chronically ill and disabled people, raising awareness, informing and generally forming the health policy. Being myself a patient, when I realised that the life expectancy in other European countries is 40 years, but in Greece is estimated to be 30 years, while every year about 10 co-patients lose their life due to respiratory failure, I set as a goal of life to improve the tragic conditions we experience in Greece: the lack of information and specialized & integrated health benefits.
For the first time in Greece, respiratory rehabilitation programs (3 to 6 months) for adults and children (individualised exercise) started and will operate until May 2015! The results are spectacular! Patients’ respiratory system improved greatly, increasing their body weight and endurance, while, at the same time, we expect very innovative, but expensive, treatments to be applied to further improving their health. Combined with specialised physiotherapy and dietary intervention, huge improvement has been observed in the quality of life, psychology and life expectancy as proved on bibliography from similar programs applied in other countries for years.
The need is real and immediate as there is a long list of patients eager to carry out the above programs and continue after their expiry. The participation is limited due to limited financing, manpower, but also because of the strict conditions demanded to avoid cross contamination between patients as it is forbidden to exercise in the same premises. At the same time the maintenance of the program's benefits will be achieved only by the continuation of exercise in combination with physiotherapy and specific diet for life. The need, therefore, for a rehabilitation centre is urgent.
With the support of Impact Hub Athens and the counseling of the BCC PRAKSIS we understood how the project can be set up as a business, to create a solid foundation for generating sustainable and realistic satisfaction of the social needs mentioned above. For the sustainability of this project we founded a social enterprise: “Humane”. A social network of young people active in the design industry and the integration of vulnerable groups, plan along with the patients a respiratory rehabilitation centre, “Human Ability”, under the constant supervision of specialised health professionals. A centre that will provide the necessary health security conditions against infections: personalized exercise, physiotherapy and dietary intervention.
Of course the cost for the entire project of the rehabilitation centre is large. However, the benefits for this group are vital and a strong incentive for us to make it happen. As a starting point for our project is the goal of 6500 euros, that covers the cost for the basic construction of a pilot “Breath box”. However, we believe that with your participation we will be able to move on to complete the equipment with a total of 11,500 euros. Of course we don’t mean to stop upon reaching the amount needed for a single box-chamber,since being able to build more “boxes” we will serve more patients simultaneously. In each case, however, depending on the response and the advice of our scientific team, we can invest the amount of money gathered in equipment (bikes, treadmills, multifunctional exercise machine), but also cover physiotherapy services, exercise and dietary intervention offered to the patients of the rehabilitation centre for free.