Ioanna Vlachou is shocking: My son disappeared for 40 days

The Marina Tsiklitira

Corfu, 1987. Something pushes 13-year-old Ioanna Vlachou to add three years to her age, so that they can take her to a show. If you look back to her childhood, you will see her permanently climbed high, on a step, in the body of a car, to present something to the world. “Playing and singing gave me freedom,” he told Realife. “My goal was to become an actor. “I could not have imagined that this performance of the amateur team included Rena Vlachopoulou!”

She remembers its simplicity. “I see her drinking her orange juice yesterday, in a barbecue near my record store in the Old Town. To talk to people, exactly, but just as we know her from the movies. She was always simply dressed, driving an open carriage. We did the first rehearsal at her house. The director would tell her “Mrs. Rena, let’s see the script, let’s see the role” and she would reply: “Okay, are you all right? Which scenario? I will say my own things! ” “And just being in front of her on stage was magic.”

In that first performance, Ioanna was paid 8,000 drachmas. She decided to buy a ring to keep. “I still have it in my drawer. And Mrs. Rena in my heart. ”

Like Christos Leontis, who encouraged her to go ahead with the song. She studied her job and practiced it professionally since high school. “School in the morning, singing in shops and hotels in the evening,” he recalls. “That’s why I missed her for five days.”

Her artistic career is rich. He was a soprano in operas and operettas in Corfu. She recorded an album with traditional songs of her island. He participated in performances by Brecht and Aristophanes. He sang Leontis music for the theater. He has appeared in Paris. Since 2010, in Greece, she has collaborated with George Chatzinassios, Christos Nikolopoulos, Antonis Vardis, George Dalaras, Klio Denardou, Christos Thivaios, Thanos Mikroutsikos, Lena Alkaiou, etc., while in September 2020 her fourth album was released, “The hidden”, with lyrics by Triantaphyllos Kotopoulos and compositions by Olga Koutsoukalis and Konstantinos Katomeris.

Everything would seem sunny, if the life of I. Vlachos had not been darkened by a huge shadow. Early in elementary school, her only daughter, Rafaela, was diagnosed with Fanconi. “It is a type of severe, rare anemia, related to leukemia,” he explains.

It was not the first time that Ioanna’s world was shaken. “I also had a son,” he confesses. “I gave birth to him at 19, with a part of his esophagus missing. “The doctors did not know what he had, some attributed it to Chernobyl.” The baby is missing, 40 days old. The young mother had to return home, tidy up the nursery, pick up her pieces and move on. Shortly afterwards, she became pregnant in Rafaela. “There is no test I did not do to make sure she is healthy,” he tells us.

Light in the tunnel

When the evil struck a second time, the doctors connected the two stories. And then the battle began. Ioanna and Rafaela went to France, where they fought a huge, painful battle for five whole years.

In all that gloomy period, Ioanna did not give up for a moment. She refused to cry, she refused to leave herself untidy, she refused to think that at the end of the tunnel there might be no light. And he did not stop dreaming for a moment. “I will not forget the day we returned from France,” he says. “Her classmates were waiting for her with flowers. In Paris I met many parents who returned home without their children. I came back with Rafaela too. Together. Winners. Now, he is about to get a degree in Psychology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki “.

A story with a happy ending is worth telling, “so that other parents, in a similar position, can get courage”, as Ioanna believes. And to be celebrated. And there is no better way than a concert, like the one he will give on Saturday, July 10, at 20:30, at the “Rena Vlachopoulou” theater, in Mon Repo. The occasion was the 15th anniversary of her daughter’s bone marrow transplant with umbilical cord stem cells (Rafaela was the first girl in the world to undergo this method successfully). Proceeds will be donated to the Association of Children with Neoplastic Disease – Childhood Cancer “The Flame”. The evening will be attended by the women’s choir “Koryfo”, the children’s choir “Allegria” of the Corfu Epirus Association, the Omonia Gastouriou Philharmonic, the musician Giannis Michael, the singer Vassilis Kynigopoulos and the dance school of Niki Giannou. I. Vlachou will perform songs by well-known Greek composers and some of her album “Ta Krymmena”, as well as the song “Floga”, which was written especially for the event.

“What is your dream?” I ask her. “To show off Rafaela until she is very old”, she replies and her voice, for the first time, breaks. “As she wishes. She deserves it. She is a kind child and a great fighter. As for me, I would like to live calmly, dearly, with the job I love “.

See the Realife post here


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