The Academy of Athens presented its annual awards for 2017 during a celebratory event held 21 December 2017 at the Academy’s ceremonial hall.

The “ELPIDA”Association of Friends of Children with Cancer was awarded a Gold Medal, the Academy of Athens’ highest honour, for its “active and steadily growing charitable work”.

The founder and president of the Association, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, was there to receive the Academy’s Gold Medal, presented by Academy of Athens President, Loukas Papademos, before an audience of academics and guests at the grand event.

This is the second time the “ELPIDA” Association has received the Academy’s highest distinction. The first time was 1997. Since its founding in 1990, the Association has established the first paediatric bone marrow transplant unit in Greece, giving more than 1,000 children a chance at life; founded the “ELPIDA” Guest House, which has housed more than 2,000 families of sick children to date; established the first children’s oncology hospital in Greece, which has treated thousands of children since it opened in 2010; created the “Orama ELPIDAS”  Volunteer Bone Marrow Donor Bank, which has already registered 55,000 volunteer donors and 15 of them were found to be compatible with patients whose lives were saved thanks to transplants; and created a Twinning Program for the hospital, linking it to some of the largest hospitals around the world, among other things.

Upon receiving the award for the “ELPIDA” Association, Mrs Vardinoyannis said: “This award from the Academy of Athens is the highest honour for the ELPIDA Association and for me personally, and gives us strong impetus to continue our efforts alongside the children who are fighting for their lives. I dedicate the award to these children who, as they fight against cancer, inspire and guide our progress, and whose smile gives us strength to continue. I thank the distinguished members of the Academy of Athens who stand as allies and friends at “ELPIDA” ’s side.”