The cancer patient who outlived his doctors

StamitisMoraitisStamitis Moraitis, a Greek war veteran who arrived in the U.S. in 1943 to receive treatment for his mangled arm, after which he became a citizen, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 1976.

Not willing to accept one opinion, he consulted a total of nine doctors, all of whom urged him to immediately pursue aggressive cancer treatment (chemo).

Accepting the fact that he didn’t have long to live, Moraitis, who was then in his mid-sixties, refused treatment and chose to go home to his native Ikaria and be buried with his ancestors.

Ikaria is a Greek island of 99 square miles and 10,000 inhabitants in the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey.

Moraitis and his wife moved in with his parents, and at first he was weak and bedridden, napping and barely able to eat the native diet of beans, wild greens and honey.

But gradually he felt better and enjoyed social times drinking local wine or herbal teas with friends and relatives.

Suddenly he was tired of merely sitting in the sunshine and gazing at the vineyards. He decided to plant a garden, though he didn’t expect to live and see it come to fruition.

But he did.

Then he became more ambitious and decided to clean up and improve the rundown family vineyard.

Eventually he was producing 400 gallons of wine, and ceased worrying about encroaching death. He resumed the traditional island lifestyle of rising early and working in the garden and vineyard until mid-afternoon, then eating, taking a nap and spending the evenings socializing with friends and neighbors.

The years passed and Stamitis continued to improve. He took no medicines, no chemo. He just lived and worked in Ikaria.

Twenty-five years after leaving the U.S., by then in his late eighties, Stamitis made a return visit to the U.S., determined to consult his doctors and have them explain the strange turn of events.

But they had all passed away.

Stamatis Moraitis was interviewed in 2009 and 2012 as part of a study on the areas and circumstances that produced an amazing number of healthy centenarians, of which Ikaria was one.

The results were published in the book Blue Zones, by Dan Buettner.

Moraitis died recently. It is unclear how old he was. A U.S. document says he was 97 at the time of the 2009 interview, but he claimed he was 102.

At any rate, this one-time cancer patient who outlived his doctors, ended up enjoying a long, healthy and productive old age!


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