On the occasion of International Women’’s day, on 8 March 2012, the “ELPIDA” Association of Friends of Children with Cancer and the AKMI Vocational Training Institute (IEK) jointly honored all Greek women symbolically in the person of one Greek mother.

As the President of the “ELPIDA” Association, Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, stated, “…“the woman we are honouring today makes us proud as Greeks for many reasons, as her personal example sends, in the most direct manner, messages of psychological strength and maternal love, which have taken on even greater importance and symbolism in our day, with the Greek family facing so many difficulties.””

The event was held at the “”Marianna V. Vardinoyannis-ELPIDA”” Children’s Oncology Unit amphitheatre, with AKMI students and members of the “ELPIDA” Association in attendance.

The Greek mother being honoured, Mrs. Christina Aggelopoulou, is an Athenian mother of 9 children, with 3 grand children from her oldest child, a 23-year-old daughter. Her youngest child is an 8-year-old girl in elementary school. Her sixth child, Nikos, is 16 years old and one of the children of “ELPIDA”, as he was hospitalized a year ago suffering from leukaemia in the Children’s Oncology Unit and is currently following his course of therapy.

““His parents,” Mrs. Vardinoyannis said clearly moved during her speech, “began a great struggle and won in this difficult battle. Always at his side, always vigilant to do what they could for him, in spite of the bitter fate that struck his mother with the same illness. Throughout her child’’s hospitalization, she surpassed herself, and – despite her own operations, her own pain – she was by his side, an unshakeable support and guardian angel. Always with courtesy and patience, she and her husband never broke down in the face of fate’s blows. They face life and these tests with dignity, incredible strength and profound faith.”“Confronted with the magnificence and strength of their soul, we feel honor and awe that these people are among us today. We thank them warmly for accepting our invitation, and we assure them that we will continue to stand at their side.””

It is important to note that the award ceremony for Mrs. Christina Aggelopoulou marks the launching of the implementation of a new “ELPIDA” initiative for supporting the families of children being treated at the Children’’s Oncology Unit, with Mrs. Aggelopoulou’s family being the first to receive this support.

Following Mrs. Vardinoyannis’ speech, AKMI President Mr. Kostas Rodopoulos took the floor: “”This is my first time visiting this place, a place that is impressive when you see it as a building, and that is moving when you enter it. The work done by Mrs. Vardinoyannis and the “ELPIDA” Association is important and very ground-breaking. We appreciated this last year when we decided to join forces with “ELPIDA” in joint actions. This year, with Mrs. Vardinoyannis, we decided to do something new. Because our country is in the midst of a very serious crisis, we wanted to help in our society’’s problems. And how could we say we were helping? Together with “ELPIDA” we chose to support a family. Mrs. Vardinoyannis made the move as “ELPIDA,” giving real hope to the family, as well as to all of us who are following her work. A warm thank to Mrs. Vardinoyannis and congratulations to Mrs. Aggelopoulou who stands upright before everything that we all are going through today.””

In closing his speech, Mr. Rodopoulos promised that AKMI will be pleased to accept her children as well as her grandchildren, whenever they wish to attend, for free studies.

Mrs. Aggelopoulou expressed her warm thanks for the honor: ““A big thank you to Mrs. Vardinoyannis from me and my family. My best wishes for her, for her children, and for the effort she is making for children who have fallen ill. Her work ,– the founding of the this hospital, – has helped us a great deal. Because we were better able to face our difficulty in this beautiful environment. In the midst of the difficulties we are all going through right now, I hope that all Greeks do for each other what Mrs. Vardinoyannis and Mr. Rodopoulos did for my family today.””

Those attending the event included the CEO of Agia Sofia Children’s Hospital, Mr. Manolis Papasavvas; the Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, Dr Stelios Grafakos; Professor of Paediatric Medicine Mrs Maria Moschovi; members of the “ELPIDA” Association, including Irini Athanasiadou, Kaiti Metaxatou, Eleni Samara-Konstantakatou, Ketty Filippidou, Elli Tzanetatou, Kaiti Boutsela, Ino Konstantopoulou and Ioanna Gelestathi; the director of the ELPIDA Guest House, Anna Panagopoulou; as well as Mrs. Aggelopoulou’’s whole family: her husband, Konstantinos Aggelopoulos, her children and her grandchildren.