• Almost 80 people join “Team Aghelos” at the WCS Run for the Wild
  • Dedicated to helping save penguins and other wildlife
  • More than $3000 raised by Team Aghelos
  • Visit www.runforthewild.org to help Aghelos’ cause
  • WCS's Run for the Wild, Saturday, April 30

Bronx, N.Y. – April 25, 2011 – Aghelos Kouvaras, a six-year-old first grader from South Salem Elementary in Port Washington, Long Island, has been in and out of the hospital for the past eight months receiving very aggressive chemotherapy treatments for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. During his fight against cancer, Aghelos decided he wanted to help save endangered penguins.

Aghelos was diagnosed with a tumor in his abdomen as a result of Burkitt’s lymphoma, a very rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in September, 2010. During his time in the hospital, he read several books about penguins and learned about the threats they face.  He became passionate about the penguin plight and decided he wanted to help.

“In the hospital, I asked Aggie if he had a wish; if there was anything he wanted,” said Elizabeth Kouvaras, Anghelos’ mother. “He didn’t want an X-box or a Playstation. He said he wanted to save penguins. What are we going to do without animals, he asked. If they die, we will all die.”

The sentiment inspired the Aghelos family, teachers and community to help him get his wish by raising money for penguin conservation by joining the Wildlife Conservation Society’s third annual Run for the Wild on Saturday, April 30 which is dedicated to helping save penguins.

Four first grade teachers at Aghelos’ school rallied students around the cause, which soon inspired the entire community of Port Washington. The school held bake sales and other fundraisers to help Aghelos get his wish and raise money for the run.

“Aghelos is an encouragement to everyone at WCS,” said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs. “His work to raise money to save penguins while fighting his own battle is inspirational. He has become a role model for an entire community. Team Aghelos embodies the spirit of the Run for the Wild – it is not a contest. It is a means for people to come together in support of a cause.”

Having completed his chemotherapy treatments just weeks before the Run for the Wild, Aghelos will be joining the nearly 80 members of Team Aghelos on Saturday, April 30 at the Bronx Zoo and will participate in the Run for the Wild 5k run and family fun run/walk.

WCS works around the globe to save wildlife and wild places. Changing climate, overfishing, and habitat loss are some of the factors affecting penguin populations. Of the world's 17 penguin species, 12 are experiencing serious population declines with some facing extinction within the 21st century. WCS is committed to ensuring a future for penguins where they live, including Punta Tombo on the coast of Argentina, home to the largest colony of Magellanic penguins in the world.

Aghelos and his supporters have already raised more than $3,000 for the Run for the Wild and are working to raise more before race day.  Donations to Team Aghelos can be made online at www.runforthewild.org.

The Run for the Wild will be held at the Bronx Zoo on Saturday, April 30. The 5k race begins at 8:30 a.m. and the family fun run/walk begins at 8:45 a.m.

The WCS Run for the Wild is made possible by the following generous sponsors: 

Presenting Sponsor:
Con Edison

Featured Sponsors:
Aquafina, Fisher-Price®, Montefiore

Supporting Sponsors:
Anvil, Benjamin Moore, eStar, Hard Rock Cafe, Monroe College, Stonyfield Farm, UBS

Media Partners:
ABC7, Daily News, Z-100

Max Pulsinelli – 718-220-5182; mpulsinelli@wcs.org
Steve Fairchild – 718-220-5189; sfairchild@wcs.org

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo.Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

The WCS Bronx Zoo is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Adult admission is $16, children (3-12 years old) $12, children under 3 are free, seniors (65+) are $14. Parking is $13 for cars and $16 for buses. The Bronx Zoo is conveniently located off the Bronx River Parkway at Exit 6; by train via the #2 or #5 or by bus via the #9, #12, #19, #22, MetroNorth, or BxM11 Express Bus service (from Manhattan that stops just outside the gate.) To plan your trip, visit www.bronxzoo.com or call 718-367-1010.

If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: www.wcs.org/donation