Elektra 02

In Loving Memory of Elektra Fourakis
November 14, 1997 – August 23, 2020
Beloved Daughter, Sister, Friend • Minoan Dancer • Heart Warrior • Kritikopoula

Elektra was born on a rainy day in November 1997, during the height of FDF-prep time for the Minoans. She was a blue baby born with multiple heart and lung defects and her condition was critical and uncertain. Our parish priest, Father Constantine, was the first to arrive at the hospital and baptized her within hours in the NICU. Prayers, faith and hope brought us a miracle and our fragile little girl came home a week later to meet her brothers Achilleas and Odysseas.

Elektra’s first open heart surgery was scheduled for the week after FDF 1998, when she was just three months old. Vasilis had met with the Minoans, offering a substitute director to take the groups to FDF. They said no way, no FDF without us. That support, and the support of our entire Nativity of Christ community, helped carry our family through those early days of uncertainty, through periods of Elektra’s illnesses and hospitalizations and especially now as our lives go on without our Shining Star.

We never gave up hope for Elektra. God blessed us with over 22 years of love and a joy that could not be diminished by her condition. We walked a fine line between babying her and pushing her. She knew she had a very serious condition but she didn’t let that interfere with her plans. Elektra did not dwell on her health or her limitations and she led a full, happy, accomplished life. She spent many days and nights in the hospital. I slept by her bed every night and she made the best of it planning movies and coloring together, like a sleepover. She was the essence of bravery and considered herself a Heart Warrior.
Elektra  cleo   max
Elektra graduated from high school in 2017, receiving an award for her resilience and determination. While in high school Elektra started her own dog treat business, Elektra’s Dog Treats. She received academic scholarships from Dominican University of California, Nativity of Christ, Polirinia Cretan chapter, the Pancretan Association of America Venizelion Scholarship and the Archbishop Demetrios Scholarship Award presented at FDF 2018. She learned sign language and drove a bright red Kia Soul to transport her scooter and her hearing dog Cleo, who went with her to classes every day. She completed three years at Dominican University of California studying Global Public Health. Her dream was to become a pediatric cardiac nurse, inspired by so many wonderful nurses she met over the years.

In 2011 Elektra and I started annual blanket-tying socials at our parish, to make fleece blankets to donate to the UCSF Pediatric Cardiac ICU. Elektra had received a blanket when she was hospitalized and she wanted to make blankets for other kids to help cheer them up. To date our Minoans and parish community have donated over 800 blankets, now in Elektra’s memory.

While in high school, Elektra attended a summer camp for teens with heart defects, Camp Taylor in Modesto, California. In her college essay she wrote: “I met kids who have even more serious conditions than me. I did not feel different when I was at camp and I have a special bond with the kids from camp. I learned more about my condition and what a normal heart looks like. Before I went to the camp I knew only one other person with a heart defect. Now I am OK with my scar because it is a part of who I am.” Through the generosity of so many who knew Elektra, a memorial fountain, tables and benches were donated to Camp Taylor, in Elektra’s memory.
Achilleas and elektra
Elektra loved Cretan and Greek dance. She was extremely shy but she could command the attention of hundreds of people when she danced her solo at Cretan conventions, festivals and FDF, wearing her signature red Kritsá costume. She started performing with the Minoans when she was just three years old and grew up through the ranks of Little Minoans in Division III to Minoans 1 in Advanced Senior and teaching the Little Minoans. She attended 22 FDFs and performed at the 2010 FDF one month after her 2nd open heart surgery at 12 years old. Dance was physically challenging for her and she would be short of breath after a few steps. She tried her best to keep up and at FDF 2020 led the Minoans women in a slow Pentozali circle. Vasilis and I were always on stage to keep a close eye on her and we cherish the memories of the performances that we danced Syrtos together.

Elektra’s death was untimely for us but not unexpected. She taught us that being physically challenged does not mean you are disabled. She taught us to experience and be grateful for every moment. She tried to do so many things but her body just couldn’t keep up. She had spunk, she was sassy, she was stubborn and she was a spitfire.
She is our shining star.
She is our hero.
She will live forever in our hearts.
May her memory be eternal.
Ηλέκτρα μου σ’αγαπώ
καλό ταξίδι να ‘χεις
και στη καρδιά και στο μυαλό
πάντοτε θα υπάρχεις.

Εσυ είσαι η αγάπη μου

Εσυ και η χάρα μου
Εσυ είσαι η ανάσα μου
κι ο χτύπος της καρδιάς μου.

Memorial video
2018 fourakis cretan family

Elektra Fourakis, Memory Eternal