Sponsorship of Non-Profit Sporting Events: The Case of the Well-Being Festival

Chrysostomos Giannoulakis

Abstract: Elias Katirtsigianoglou is an interesting figure: outgoing, charming, active, sociable, energetic, successful, and well educated. By the time he reached his early 30s, he had acquired for himself what he called “the package.” He worked as a sales manager in a multinational company for renewable energy and had a personal sales record of approximately $60 million. He owned a house in the United Kingdom, a fancy car, and was in a fruitful relationship. However, at the age of 32, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and doctors gave him six months to live. As he was resting in a hospital bed, in the midst of his chemotherapy treatment, Elias asked himself three crucial questions: Why me? What am I leaving behind? What now? It was at that time he promised himself that when he was released from the hospital he would cross the Aegean Sea with his beloved kite surf. Sure enough, a few months later Elias crossed 16 nautical miles of the Evoikos Gulf in the Aegean Sea with his kite, accompanied by 23 friends with sailing boats, kites, windsurfs, and kayaks. The purpose of the Solidarity Crossing was to convey the message that nothing is impossible, especially in a cancer-surviving situation. The team also raised funds for the Global Kiter Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities get into kiting on land and water, while improving environmental awareness.