The Elpida Guest House of the Association of Friends of Children with cancer opened its doors in September 1999 to provide warmth and hospitality, free of charge, to families from outside the capital. The first of its kind on a national scale, it was created to soothe, provide a home and give hope to children who suffer from neoplasmatic diseases and their parents. It offers hospitality to families with children from 0 to 18 years of age who need to stay in the Athens area for as long as their treatment in the oncology clinics of the “Aghia Sophia” and “Aglaia Kyriakou” children’s hospitals lasts.
For these families the “Elpida Guest House” is their “home away from home” in Athens. The place where they derive the strength to face the worry and stress over the progress of the child’s health, which is usually accompanied by a long stay in hospital, many months of outpatient treatment and huge costs. The treatment the children undergo lasts from 1 month to 1 year with the result that the children find themselves far from the environments familiar to them for a long period of time and need special psychological support.
But the parents also need support; they need to hang on to their hope, in order to help their children. The fact alone that in this environment children and parents who face the same problem live together as a family gives them a feeling of succor and solidarity. Its operation met a great social need since for several months the parents had to live in hospital corridors or pay enormous sums of money for hotels, most of which did not provide the proper living conditions which were indispensable for the recovery stage of the children. They were drained financially or even had to stay with relatives.
The Guest House sees to it that the children and their parents do not lose their contact with the social whole. That they have support. That they believe that nothing ends with a diagnosis, that cancer can be beaten and that “Elpida” is at their side throughout the difficult road ahead.