Cyprus’ female pole vault champion Marianna Zachariadi is fighting for her life after recently going public to say that she was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.
The 23-year-old, who was born in Greece and has since moved back to Athens to be closer to her family, begun suddenly suffering from bouts of lack of breath after training sessions. It took three months for doctors to diagnose her with Hodgkins lymphoma and two years on, the blonde says she is finally giving up on beating the disease.
“I spent almost an entire year in hospital”, Marianna told elita.com.
cy in a recent interview. “I had taken every available medicine but nothing appeared to improve my condition. I have been travelling backwards and forwards from Greece to Germany for some time now. After the radiology treatment, we will see where I stand…only one of my lungs is working and my chances are diminishing day by day.” The disease has taken its toll on the athlete who has shrunk to a mere 43 kilos and has now run out of funding for her treatment.
Marianna also said that many people – some who have even known her since she was a child – appear to have forgotten about her now that she is suffering from her illness.
“I feel very lonely. In the beginning, they think of you a lot, then they think of you sometimes and then they finally disappear.” Her touching interview has since prompted fellow athletes to call on the public to donate whatever they can in a bid to kickstart her therapy.
Footballers Constantinos Charalambides, Demetris Christofi, Andreas Avraam as well as fellow track and field athletes Kyriakos Ioannou, Eleni Artymata and Apostolos Parellis have all featured in an online video supporting Marianna.
Marianna has brought much success to Cyprus in athletics. In October 2010, she took the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi while at the Mediterranean Games in Italy, a year earlier, she was again a silver medalist with one of the highest scores in Europe that year.
Donations for Marianna can be made at Hellenic Bank (Account Number: 591-01-401171-01) and Yeroskipou Co-op (Account Number: 4001477-5).