Spreading peace across Europe

In search of silent heroes

When you undertake something remarkable for a good cause, it’s easy for the undertaking to overshadow the cause.

Mark Fuhrmann knows this, as he resumes his 5200 km kayaking odyssey from Oslo to Athens with 3300 km to go, on a mission to reward small acts of kindness along the way.

Mark’s journey itself is epic enough to have attracted plenty of press already, but his real purpose is to bring attention to the unsung heroes along his route, those who give to others without asking anything in return.

Fuhrmann has recognised these ‘silent heroes’in their local communities from the start of his voyage in Norway,throughSweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Belgium, andinto France. Now his path will lead himdown the canals and rivers of Provence to the Mediterranean, across Italy to the Adriaticand down the Balkan coast, where he will continue to acknowledge deserving servants with modest cash awards to support their work.

Mark’s inspiration for this incredible journeyunfolded in the Greek village of Idomeni, in the shadow of the Syrian refugee crisis. Panayiota Vasileiadou, 82, was alone in her home when a young woman turned up on her doorstep with nine companions, cold and hungry, fleeing the battles raging in Aleppo. Rather than turn them away, ‘Mama’, as her guests now call her, took them all in and fed them on her monthly pension of 450 Euro.

This near-heroic act of sacrifice has brought Vasileiadouinternational attention, but her real mission was simply to helpthose in need by any means she could. And now Mark Fuhrmann’s ultimate destination is Idomeni, to finally meet‘Mama’.

Fuhrmann says: “One act of kindness may seem insignificant in this vast universe, but touching the life of even one person is highly significant, for that person, but also for society.”

“This trip is a huge challenge for me, but what keeps me going is the thought of visiting PanayiotaVasileiadou in her home and giving her a big hug to thank her for her efforts, just to acknowledge her act of kindness. What a tremendous source of inspiration she has been, and a role model for all of us.”

5200 kilometres may seem a long way to paddle a kayak just to give an old lady a hug. But along the way, Mark Furhmannwill have shared the inspiration of many small acts of kindness that come together to make a big difference in the world. Thejourney is certainly deserving of headlines, but the real story lies in the mission.

Learn more about the Silent Heroes tour and follow Mark on his mission:


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