What Is the Key to a Long Life: A Lesson Learned in Ikaria

What would you do if you were told that you had a terminal disease and had only a few short months to live? This was the predicament Stamatis Moraitis faced back in 1976. Moraitis came to the United States to build a better life for himself. While he certainly was able to make a living and live the “American Dream” as many would believe it to be, he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in his early sixties. Stamatis Moraitis had a choice now. He could seek conventional care and hope to extend his life for a few months, or he could go back home to the island of Ikaria. He chose the latter to avoid the high costs of a funeral in the United States.


However, what Mr. Moraitis could not foresee was how going back to his roots would help him heal. Stamatis did not receive chemotherapy or any other forms of conventional medicine for cancer care. Instead, he just decided to let nature be his care provider and live a traditional Ikarian life. He took frequent naps, never woke up to an alarm clock, and built a social community in Ikaria. He was more active. He planted a garden and took frequent walks. He also became his own winemaker, having a cup or two of his homemade brew every day.



The end result was not a man who lived out his last days in a hospital, but a man who thrived for the rest of his days – those days ended up amounting to almost forty years. Stamatis died in 2013, but his story will never be forgotten. It was featured in national publications, including the New York Times, Reader’s Digest, and the BBC. Stamatis remains a paradigm for how to take back your health and rethink what it means to live a good, healthy life. Can his story help you change yours?

What Does Stamatis’s Story Teach Us about Life and Death?


The people on Ikaria are two and a half times as likely to reach age 90 as Americans. They do not have a magical secret. They just live life. They take naps and never wake up to an alarm clock. In regard to diet, they do not eat like Americans at all. Their natural diet has minimal saturated fat from animals, homemade sour dough bread, and wild greens at every meal. They drank tea mixed with herbs native to the area. Finally, they have sex regularly and keep close social connections. In essence, they live life to the fullest. As the Hope4Cancer® Institute has shown, there are other ways to treat cancer than conventional care that may produce worse side effects than the disease. Stamatis’s story is one that reveals how to live life when confronted with the possibility of death. For him, this was when he finally decided to live.