Philanthropy Taking One Cleveland Family Back to Roots on Crete


Kudos to a group of Greek Americans with ancestry from the island of Crete who have set up a charity to help their ancestral island and its people who are impacted by the financial crisis in Greece. The Samaria Foundation was launched to raise funds for various Cretan charities and is using innovative ways to raise funds, like a new campaign called “Walk the Gorge.”

Walk the Gorge refers to the world-famous Samaria Gorge, one of the longest in Europe and a spectacle of natural beauty and historic significance for the region. Teams of hikers have been enlisted from throughout the United States, which raise funds from their family and friends.

Like a traditional walk-a-thon or charity run, this project brings gorge-walkers back to the island of their heritage and supports important charitable efforts at the same time.

The gorge walk takes an average of 6-8 hours to complete for an amateur hiker, through some of the most beautiful natural terrain in the world.

This region of Crete is filled with the mystery of ancient legend and modern folklore. According to Greek mythology, one of the Titans living on Crete slashed the land with his knife to create the Gorge.

Since antiquity the region has been the subject of folklore, music and local legend. Fighters in various revolutions— against the Turks in the 1800s and the Nazi Germans in the 1940s— used the mountainous region to hide and launch their attacks and the bluffs and cliffs are home to some of the most unique flora and fauna in the world, including the elusive Cretan mountain goat, the Kri-Kri.

The group is organizing a primary walk on June 25th and has set up a fundraising page, allowing groups and individuals to raise funds and organize campaigns for the cause. Several teams have already been set up, including the Cretan Climbers of Cleveland— a family of four who plan to walk the gorge together this summer.

According to the Myers family, who have set up their own fundraising page, “We are excited to take part in this worthy cause sponsored by the Samaria Foundation. This economic crisis has exposed Crete’s most vulnerable citizens, children, elderly and the unemployed. This effort is near and dear to our hearts as we are proud of our Cretan heritage and roots, and love the Cretan people and spirit. We are going walk this 11 mile hike as a family and ask your help to raise funds for this important effort.


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