Former GlenOak High School basketball standout and current NBA Sacramento Kings center Kosta Koufos wed Eleni Bourlas on Sept. 1 in Canton.
But in lieu of wedding gifts, the couple asked their guests to make a donation in honor of Koufos’ late father, a former Akron Children’s Hospital pediatric hematologist/oncologist.
The couple’s “wedding gift” donation to the hospital’s Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders has so far exceeded $35,000, in addition to toys, books and games purchased for patients. The newlyweds delivered the gifts on a recent visit to the hospital.
When he was growing up, Kosta often accompanied his father, Dr. Alex Koufos, to work.
On trips back to Ohio, the 7-foot Koufos, now 29, regularly visits patients in the Showers Center and catches up with the nurses who worked alongside his father.
“We greatly appreciate Kosta and Eleni thinking of Akron Children’s and its patients on such a happy occasion,” said Dr. Jeffrey Hord, medical director of the Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders. “Through a memorial fund established in his father’s name, the donation will provide much-needed support for our patient families during the most difficult time of their lives. It truly is a way for Dr. Koufos to live on and continue his work with us.”
Koufos is entering his 11th season in the NBA after playing for one year at Ohio State.
“Eleni and I are truly humbled by the outpouring of love at this special time in our lives,” Koufos said in a prepared statement. “We are in awe by the work being done at the Showers Center to care for children with cancer. Every staff member recognizes what a difficult time this is for the children and families and they do everything they can to create a comfortable and loving environment for them. We are so grateful for our family and friends in making these donations in our honor, as well as in memory of my father.”
Both the bride and groom grew up in Canton’s Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church community, where the wedding took place over Labor Day weekend.