The George “Best” Costacos Foundation Honors HRH Crown Princess Katherine

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The George “Best” Costacos Cultural and Cancer Research Foundation awarded its first George “Best” Costacos Humanitarian Spirit Award to HRH Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia for her extensive humanitarian activities at a concert and cocktail reception held recently in New York.

HRH is the patron of Lifeline Humanitarian Organization which operates in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Greece and Serbia. Crown Princess Katherine was born in Athens, Greece, to Robert and Anna Batis. She was educated in Athens and Lausanne, Switzerland, and studied business at the University of Denver, Colorado, and the University of Dallas, Texas. She received an honorary doctorate from the University of Sheffield, England, in 2007. Princess Katherine speaks English, Greek, French, Spanish and Serbian.

An international crowd of dignitaries from the diplomatic, scientific, academic and cultural fields turned out for the award presentation which was preceeded by a concert featuring an international roster of talented young performers. Among those attending were His Excellency Feodor Starcevic - Ambassador of Serbia to UN, Ambassador Aghi Balta, Consul General of Greece, Ms. Koula Sophianou, Consul General of Cyprus, Ms. Mirjana Zivkovic, Consul General of Serbia, Ambassador and Mrs. Andrew Jacovides, President of the board of Lifeline Humanitarian Organization NY, Mr. David Hrych, well-known architect Mr.Kostantine Kondyllis, Dr. and Mrs. Steven Stylianos, Dr. Chrysanthe Routzounis, Dr.David Lyden, Stavros Niarchos Chair at Weill Cornell Medical Centerand attending pediatric neurooncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering CancerCenter, Dr.Demetrios Skokos of Rockefeller University and Regeneron, and Dr. Christos Koutentis as well as Mr. Ijaz Malik.

Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Mr. David Lotz, Director of Communications for the Actors Equity Association. Guests were enthralled by the performances of John Himmel, Lynn Manuell, Seth Weinstein and the soprano Jadranka Jovanovic. The well-known artist Russell Bush presented Her Royal Highness with an original work of art designed specifically for her. The Humanitarian Spirit Award was designed by the world-renown sculptor Nikos Floros. The award is a modern structure of aluminum and plexiglass, using a technique originated by Mr. Floros. Among other works, Mr. Floros has utilized this technique in his famous sculptural costumes inspired by Maria Callas.

In her opening remarks, Dora Ziongas, Vice President and co-founder of Foundation spoke about George Costacos’work and humanitarian spirit, the organization’s mission and how HRH Princess Katherine’s passion and commitment to her work were an inspiration to her and the other members of the board. “There could not be a more deserving individual to receive the first George ‘Best’ Costacos Humanitarian Spirit Award than Her Royal Highness.” Ms. Ziongas said.

The Humanitarian Spirit Award was presented to Her Royal Highness by Dr. David Lyden, Stavros Niarchos Chair at Weill Cornell Medical Center and Attending Pediatric Neurooncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In her acceptance Princess Katherine spoke about the inspiration she drew from her parents who always provided a strong example with their own humanitarian activities. She thanked the members of the board of the George “Best” Costacos Cultural and Cancer Research Foundation and the President and Vice President, Nikos Floros and Dora Ziongas respectively, for this honor. Her Royal Highness spoke about her commitment and work to help bring peace and compassion to a world that sorely needs both “There always seems to be money for war but never enough money to help people,” she pointed out.

The George “Best” Costacos Cultural and Cancer Research Foundation will support the innovative research of the laboratory of David C. Lyden, M.D., Ph.D., a leading authority on cancer metastasis and brain tumors.

Dr. Lyden is co-senior author of “Cancer Metastasis: Biological Basis and Therapeutics” by Cambridge University Press, the first ever book on metastatic research and clinical care of the metastatic patient, published April 2011. His team of researchers was the first to identify specific bone marrow precursor cells that induce the formation of new blood vessels that feed brain tumors. With this ground breaking discovery, Dr. Lyden’s lab is now trying to develop monoclonal antibodies to receptors on these bone marrow cells. This novel therapy will target and stop the cancer cells from growing and spreading. This exciting research can ultimately lead to a cure.

A recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, The George “Best” Costacos Cultural and Cancer Research Foundation was formed in 2009 to honor the memory of the late actor/singer and member of the Actors’ Equity Association, George “Best” Costacos who died in November 2008 of glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor with a particularly poor prognosis. The Foundation’s mission is to support research to understand the etiology of cancer, to support improvement in the management of brain tumors, and to promote, foster, and advance the professional pursuits of young artists.

George Costacos was born in Athens, Greece, in 1964 and died at the age of 44 in Hanover, Germany. George Costacos’ love of life and humanitarian spirit were an inspiration to all who met him.


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