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Visit by Mrs. Shanna Ingram-Papademos to the "Marianna V. Vardinoyannis-ELPIDA" Children's Oncology Unit

On Monday 30 January 2012, at noon, Mrs. Shanna Ingram-Papademos, wife of our country's Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, visited the "Marianna V. Vardinoyannis-Elpida" Children's Oncology Unit.

The President of the "ELPIDA" Association of Friends of Children with Cancer Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis greeted Mrs. Papademos and showed her around the wards, the schoolrooms and other areas of the hospital where Mrs. Papademos had the opportunity to talk with the children who are undergoing treatment there and with their parents and to give them her best wishes.

Mrs. Vardinoyannis thanked Mrs. Papademos for her interest in the work of the "ELPIDA" Association as well as for her visit to the Children's Oncology Unit, emphasizing that her presence there gave great strength and courage not only to the children and their parents but also to the members of the "ELPIDA" Association in the battle they are continuing to wage with the same vigor given that the needs of the hospital and the children are constantly increasing at a time when there are rapid developments everywhere.

On the occasion of Mrs. Papademos' visit to the Children's Oncology Unit, Mrs. Vardinoyannis made an important announcement regarding the activities of "ELPIDA" for the coming year:

"Your visit," said Mrs. Vardinoyannis, addressing Mrs. Papademos, "is the first we have received this year and we consider it particularly symbolic since it is taking place the moment when "ELPIDA" is opening its wings and intensifying its efforts even more in order to meet the needs which the financial crisis has brought upon the families of the sick children.   We have therefore decided to proclaim 2012 a year of solidarity and support for the indigent children who are undergoing treatment in our hospital.   The children who are waging a harsh battle for life and who, after leaving here, will have to wage an unrelenting battle, for survival this time, in living conditions that are appalling for these youngsters who have so many needs and are very sensitive as a result of the health problems they face.   This year more than ever before we intend to stand by and support those children who leave the hospital and whose families face financial difficulties in three basic sectors: housing, food and heating."

Mrs. Papademos thanked Mrs. Vardinoyannis for her kind words, expressed her admiration for the work of the Association and offered the hospital one of the paintings she created stating:   "I got the idea of contributing this particular painting to the children from a friend of mine who said that it could be called Laughter for all the children in the world and I am glad that from now on this will be its new home.   I came to honor Mrs. Vardinoyannis for what she is doing.   Concerning oneself with sick children 24 hours a day is a huge job!   It is my fervent wish that all goes well for everyone because I know what a difficult illness cancer is and a lot of love and courage is needed to overcome it."

Mrs. Vardinoyannis thanked her and presented her with commemorative gifts on behalf of the "ELPIDA" Association.

The climate of emotion became even more intense with the appearance of the children who are undergoing treatment in the hospital and their parents, along with two girls who, as children, also received treatment in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit years ago and are now healthy, full of love for life and try to give encouragement to the other children who are fighting their own battle.

Also present were the Administrative Director of the "Aghia Sophia" Children's Hospital Dr. Emmanouil Papasavvas, the Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit Dr. Stelios Grafakos, the director of the "ELPIDA" Guest House Mrs. Anna Panagopoulou and "ELPIDA" Association board members Mrs. Katy Voutsela, Mrs. Ioanna Gelestathi, Mrs. Melina Daskalaki, Mrs. Ekaterini Metaxotou, Mrs. Anna Papagianni, Mrs. Eleni Samara-Konstantakatou, Mrs. Elly Tzanetatou, Mrs. Christina Tsatsaki, Mrs. Ketty Filippidou, as well as Mrs. Maria Georgiou who accompanied Mrs. Papademos.