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The "ELPIDA" Association and the AKMI Institute honor the Greek Woman

On Thursday 8 March 2012 on the occasion of International Women's Day 2012, the "ELPIDA" Association of Friends of Children with Cancer and the AKMI Institute of Vocational Training decided to honor all Greek women symbolically in the face of a Greek mother. As the President of the "ELPIDA" Association, Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, stated characteristically, "for many reasons the woman we are honoring today makes as proud as Greeks since her personal example sends in the most direct way messages of mental strength and maternal love which, especially in our days, with the Greek family facing so many difficulties, acquire even greater importance and symbolism."

The event took place in the amphitheater of the "Marianna V. Vardinoyannis-ELPIDA" Children's Oncology Unit in the presence of AKMI students and "ELPIDA" board members.

The Greek mother honored, Mrs. Christina Angelopoulou, is an Athenian, the mother of 9 children and a grandmother with three grandchildren from her oldest child, her 23 year-old daughter. Her youngest child is a little 8 year-old girl who goes to elementary school. Her sixth child, Nikos, is 16 years old and is one of the "ELPIDA" children since a year ago he underwent treatment for leukemia at the Children's Oncology Unit and is now following a course of therapy.

"His parents," said Mrs. Vardinoyannis, visibly moved during her talk, "embarked on a great battle so that he might emerge the victor from this difficult fight. Always present at his side, always mindful of his needs and ready to offer him all they could despite the cruel fate that struck his mother with the same illness.   During the entire time her son was in hospital, she outdid herself and despite her own surgical procedures, despite her own pain, she was always by his side, an unshakable rock and guardian angel. Always kind and patient, both she and her husband never succumbed to the blows of fate. They face life and these ordeals with dignity, incredible strength and a deep faith."

"Before the grandeur and strength of their spirit, it is we who feel honored and awed that these people are among us today. We thank them warmly for accepting our invitation and we assure them that we shall continue to stand by them."

It is important to note that the award given to Mrs. Christina Angelopoulou marks the start of the implementation of the "ELPIDA" Association's new program for the support of families whose children are undergoing treatment at the Children's Oncology Unit, with the first recipients being Mrs. Angelopoulou's family.

Immediately after Mrs. Vardinoyannis' talk it was the turn of Mr. Costs Rodopoulos, the  President of the AKMI Institute of Vocational Training to say a few words: "This is my first visit to this place, a place that impresses you when you see it as an edifice and moves you when you enter it. The work that is being done by Mrs. Vardinoyannis and the "ELPIDA" Association is important and especially ground-breaking. We appreciated this last year when we decided to march alongside "ELPIDA" in taking joint actions. This year, together with Mrs. Vardinoyannis, we decided to do something new. As our country finds itself in the middle of a very severe crisis we wanted to help with the problems that our society faces. And how could we say that we're helping? Along with "ELPIDA" we chose to support a family. Mrs. Vardinoyannis made the first move as "ELPIDA" (Hope) giving serious hope to the family as well as to all of us who follow her work. A heartfelt thank you to Mrs. Vardinoyannis and congratulations to Mrs. Angelopoulou who stands upright in the face of what we are all going through today."

In conclusion Mr. Rodopoulos promised that the AKMI Institute of Vocational Training will be happy to welcome in its student body not only Mrs. Angelopoulou's children but also her grandchildren, whenever they so desire, for tuition-free studies.

Mrs. Angelopoulou expressed her warm thanks for the honor done to her by saying: "A big thank you to Mrs. Vardinoyannis from me and my family. I wish her all the best for herself and her children and for the efforts she is making for sick children. Her work, to found this hospital, has helped us very much. Because we were better able to face our difficulties in this very beautiful environment. What Mrs. Vardinoyannis and Mr. Rodopoulos have done today for my family I hope all Greeks do for each other, now with the difficulties we are facing."

Finally, within the framework of the event, Mrs. Vardinoyannis announced that a solution had been found to relieve the families who would have to pay between 15,000 and 30,000 Euros for a compatible graft from abroad, so that their children could undergo bone marrow transplantation. The Ministry of Health committed to having the process take place between the Ministry, the Hospital and the insurance funds without each family having to shoulder these onerous financial and mental burdens.

Those present at the event included: the Administrative Director of the "Aghia Sophia" Children's Hospital Dr. Emmanouil Papasavvas, the Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit Professor Stelios Grafakos, Professor of Pediatrics Dr. Maria Moschovi, "ELPIDA" Association members Irene Athanassiadou, Katy Metaxotou, Eleni Samara-Konstantakatou, Ketty Filippidou, Elly Tzanetatou, Katy Voutsela, Ino Konstantopoulou, Ioanna Gelestathi, the director of the "ELPIDA" Guest House Mrs. Anna Panagopoulou, as well as Mrs. Christina Angelopoulou's entire family – her husband Konstantinos Angelopoulos, her children and her grandchildren.