La joie de vivre

By Christos Zampounis

“Oh no! Doctor Tassos was like a father to me”. The maestro of the “Arts club” in Dubai is stunned to hear the answer to the question of the whereabouts of his beloved patron, the doctor Anastasios Kelekis. Did the deceased have this gift, to create sympathy, to transmit joy, to gladden hearts, according to the biblical expression. A descendant of a dynasty of radiologists, with distant ancestry from Asia Minor, and more specifically from Triglia in Bithynia, he followed the path of his namesake grandfather, who founded the first radiology laboratory in Thessaloniki in 1925. We talk to his mother Katie, also a descendant of a medical family, his children’s mother Katerina, also a radiologist, his cousin Alexis, professor of Radiology at the University of Athens, and his sister Tasha, about the large (138 members) family tree they have prepared.

The diagnosis with stomach cancer, in November 2020, of their dear relative and companion was a choc, mainly because of the type of neoplasia. Unlike most of the “deacons of Hippocrates”, the metastasizer was an exemplary patient, who accepted the suggestions of his colleagues in a proactive manner. With Zeta and Olina’s mother at his side, he underwent all necessary chemotherapy and maintained his composure until the last days when we went to visit him in Dubai. He had migrated there about a decade ago, in the midst of a severe economic crisis, and had managed to emerge not only as a leader in his specialty, but also as a university doctor of Clinical Radiology at the Dubai Mohammed Bin Rachid Univercity of Medicine.

However, doctor Tassos, as he was widely known, was not limited to his scientific work. His unquenchable desire for the ancient Greek well-being had already made him, from his youthful years, the “soul” of every company and had proclaimed him, for all of us who went to see him, an “ambassador” of the dolce vita. A fanatical PAOK fan, he watched all the matches of the “Double Eagle” with religious devotion and commented for hours with his online friends on what was going on. “You lived three lives instead of one”, our mutual friend Sakis Kechagioglou said goodbye to him a few days ago, and that faint smile that formed on his face is what we will add to the thousands of smiles he generously offered to those around him.

Your eternal memory, Doctor.