The New York Times article, “The Island Where People Forget to Die,” is provocative.
It describes the island of Ikaria, a place known for unusual longevity. The case is made for multiple environmental determinants causing this. They include diet and exercise, but most importantly it would appear that a unique focus on harmony, relatedness, and relationships within the island community positively impact health.
The story of an Ikaria native, Stamatis Moraitis, is particularly intriguing. After moving and building a family in America for several years, he was diagnosed with cancer in 1976 and the doctors estimated he had nine months to live. With little hope to fight the cancer, he moved back to his native island to be buried among his ancestors.
“At first, he spent his days in bed, as his mother and wife tended to him. He reconnected with his faith. On Sunday mornings, he hobbled up the hill to a tiny Greek Orthodox chapel where his grandfather once served as a priest. When his childhood friends discovered that he had moved back, they started showing up every afternoon. They’d talk for hours, an activity that invariably involved a bottle or two of locally produced wine. I might as well die happy, he thought…
Six months came and went. Moraitis didn’t die… The years passed. His health continued to improve. He added a couple of rooms to his parents’ home so his children could visit. He built up the vineyard until it produced 400 gallons of wine a year.
Today, three and a half decades later, he’s 97 years old — according to an official document he disputes; he says he’s 102 — and cancer-free. He never went through chemotherapy, took drugs or sought therapy of any sort. All he did was move home to Ikaria.” Read More…
The traditional values and lifestyle described in the article are threatened on Ikaria, and are rare elsewhere. We suspect you will pass this on. Consider reading some of the many comments as well.