The "ELPIDA" story
The “ELPIDA” story began in 1990. The love of its members for children and the realization that our country lacked the means to treat children who needed bone marrow transplants were the two basic factors for the creation of the Association. Its work – a labor of love, humanity and social mobilization – has continued all these years with hard work and selfless contribution. It is based above all on rallying the whole of Greek society to the side of “ELPIDA”. The “ELPIDA” story is a story of love for man and child. A promise made by hundreds of people for the present and the future.
The Association was established in the early ‘90s by a group of responsive women, headed by the President of the Association, Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis. Their decision to rally to the side of sick children was a pleasant surprise for Greek society at the time. A surprise which, however, marked the dawn of a social spring. With vision, audacity and determination, with planning and, most of all, with their own hard work, the members of the Association managed to turn misfortune into hope for life for hundreds children.
“ELPIDA’s” first and fundamental goal was the creation of a model medical unit, something that did not exist in our country at the time: a Bone Marrow Transplant Unit (BMTU), where transplants could be carried out on children who suffer from hematological, genetic and hereditary diseases, such as leukemia, solid tumors, neuroblastomas, Mediterranean Anemia (b-Thalassemia) and others. The first goal was achieved and in 1993 the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit was opened at the “Aghia Sophia” Children’s Hospital.
It was followed by the creation of the "ELPIDA" Guest House at 46 Mikras Asias Street in the Goudi district, which hosts children from outside Athens and their families who need to stay in the capital for the duration of their treatment at the BMTU, as well as at the Oncolology Clinics of the "Aghia Sophia" and "Aglaia Kyriakou" Children's Hospitals. The Guest House opened in 1999.
The next great goal set by "ELPIDA" was the creation of the First Oncology Hospital for Children in Greece. A project that would provide the most modern means for the treatment of all forms of childhood cancers. The construction of the hospital for which the Association swung into action the last few years with many fund-raising drives and events and with the Greek people as its ally,was completed and inaugurated on 14 October 2010.
At the same time the Association has a wealth of scientific and cultural activities to its credit both on a national and international level and has taken many major humanitarian initiatives particularly in periods of armed conflict or natural disasters. As regards providing information and raising awareness among the public on issues related to childhood cancer and the social exclusion of sick children, ELPIDA has done important work in this area with seminars, printed material and special events.
For its work ELPIDA has been awarded our country's highest distinctions: The Gold Cross of the Order of Charity by the former President of the Hellenic Republic Mr. Constantinos Stefanopoulos (2002) and with the Academy of Athens Voluntary Action Award (1997).
From December 2004 and up until January 2012 the ELPIDA offices and adjoining
spaces operated out of a neoclassical building on Pindarou Street in Kolonaki.
The offices are now located in the ELPIDA Guest House and an annex with staff
responsible for organizing the new programs, with first and foremost the
Volunteer Bone Marrow Donor Bank" housed in the Children's Oncology Unit.