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Blind and Homeless Greek Pianist Overcomes the Odds

Anastasios Pagonidis a Blind and Homeless Greek Pianist Overcomes the Odds . Credit: Puikstekend / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

Anastasios Pagonidis, a Greek pianist originally from Athens, did not let blindness or homelessness stop him from pursuing his dream to play the piano.

The Greek musician, who moved from Athens to London, was left almost blind by a brain tumor. At the age of two, his doctors gave him just six months to live when he was first diagnosed.

Despite the grim medical prognosis, Pagonidis, who is now eighteen years old, was able to teach himself to play the piano as a child. Later in life, he overcame further hardships posed by nearly two years spent on the streets. The talented Greek pianist is now a frequent fixture at St Mary’s Church in Wirksworth, Derbyshire.

The moving story of a talented Greek pianist

Pagonidis still lives with the brain tumor that took most of his sight. “With the left eye I can’t even see you” he explained.

After moving to London, the Greek pianist spent nearly two years sleeping rough after he fell out with his family, the BBC reports.

“I was sleeping on the benches. Sometimes, mostly in the summer, I was sleeping in Hyde Park and Holland Park. When it was raining I was on the train from Paddington to Reading or Oxford and back again,” Pagnonidis told the BBC smiling.

 Defying the odds

The Greek musician busks in Bakewell in Derbyshire. He also plays the piano at St Mary’s Church in Wirksworth, also in Derbyshire. His ambition is to one day become a professional pianist.

Pagonidis met his girlfriend, Gemma Green, whilst playing the piano at St Pancras station.

“It was at the communal piano and I think everybody’s minds were just blown. Like, his hands just move around the piano like a force of nature,” Green said.

“We’ve had a couple of Saturday mornings when Anastasios has played for anybody who wants to come in and listen and that’s been very well received by the community,” Ian Todd, the churchwarden at St Mary’s said.

“He cannot see a great deal and can only see at very close range, so he’s playing entirely in this kind of natural, instinctive way.”

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