Local Entrepreneur Needs Help

Most every expatriate living even part of the year in Mazatlán knows of Athina Spa. Ten years ago, Athina Afroditi Pyrovolissianou (say that three times fast!) opened her spa doors in a gorgeous building in historic downtown after having fallen in love with our beautiful port, and today she has a second location in the Golden Zone. 

Scott and Athina on their wedding day, May 2019

Athina Spa supports fourteen local families. Today our community is in danger of losing that business, as it has had to be used as collateral to pay 2.5 million pesos in medical bills. A sad story, for sure.

Many of us know and love Athina. She is always ready with a big smile and a bear hug (ok, this latter maybe not during this time of social distancing). She is a positive, loving woman and a friend to everyone she meets. Athina contributes to every charitable cause there is in this fair city; she is incredibly generous with her spa services and her time. She supports local artists, hosting a gallery and inviting us to display our work periodically in her locations. And she is a whole lot of fun, an invaluable member of our local community.

A single mother for many years, those of us who know her were so very happy when she and Scott Peterson fell in love. Loving people deserve loving companionship, and their story was a dream come true. Handsome and beautiful, both full of life, radiating love and joy. Their beautiful beachside wedding in May, 2019 was THE event of the season. Now, as they approach their second anniversary, they are experiencing heartbreak.

To escape the craziness of spring break here, the couple went to Puerto Morelos in Quintana Roo, where there are quiet resorts along the Caribbean Sea. On the third day of their holiday Scott fell ill: hot and cold flashes and difficulty breathing. He tested negative for COVID but had water on his right lung. As sadly can happen in Latin America, Athina tells me that the hospitals looked at them as foreigners and saw dollar signs. Scott was intubated and spent over two weeks in two different hospitals, both of which insisted on treating him for COVID and over-medicating him, according to doctors here. The love of Athina’s life has since been diagnosed with fibrosis of the lungs and severe pneumonia. 

With Scott not getting better and medical bills piling up, Athina made the difficult decision to airlift Scott back home to Mazatlán, where she is familiar with the hospitals and medical staff and felt she could better trust that Scott would receive the best care.

“I am living in a nightmare and I can’t wake up. I feel a little better being at home and not 1200 miles away from it! I am exhausted mentally and emotionally, but I do know this too shall pass,” she told me.

Scott continues in intensive care locally but is being treated by one of Mazatlán’s leading pulmonary specialists. Shirleen Von Hoffman has set up a GoFundMe account to help these two dear people. If you are able to help out, I know they will be deeply grateful. Local people can transfer to their HSBC debit card from the bank or OXXO, to account number 4213-1660-7591-5045, in the name of Athina Afroditi Pyrovolissianou. I’ll attach a photo that Athina sent me, but it’s very difficult to read.

Athina’s card

Please, everyone, learn from their heartbreak. So many expats here self-insure. If you have a lot of cash lying around as back up, or if you never have major issues, you’ll be fine. But, as with this case, an unfortunate illness has beat this family down and jeopardized a ten-year business. The irony is that Scott and Athina were in the process of obtaining major medical insurance when they took their trip.

I’m confident many of you will join with me in prayers for Scott, that he recovers well and quickly now that he’s in his adopted hometown, and for our beloved Athina as she tries to get through this nightmare. Thank you for any financial or moral support you can extend them.

About Dianne Hofner Saphiere

There are loads of talented people in this gorgeous world of ours. We all have a unique contribution to make, and if we collaborate, I am confident we have all the pieces we need to solve any problem we face. I have been an intercultural organizational effectiveness consultant since 1979, working primarily with for-profit multinational corporations. I lived and worked in Japan in the late 70s through the 80s, and currently live in and work from México, where with a wonderful partner we've raised a bicultural, global-minded son. I have worked with organizations and people from over 100 nations in my career. What's your story?

6 thoughts on “Local Entrepreneur Needs Help

  1. Terrible news… I know from experience how much damage those medical bills can cause. I left Mazatlan almost $100,000 usd in debt after 4 surgeries, 8 bouts of pneumonia and almost a year total in the hospital. And I had Mexican medical insurance.
    I hope everything turns out ok for both Athina and Scott. Prayers for both.

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