On 8 May 2017, the Hellenic Red Cross celebrated World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day at the Zappeion Megaron Peristilio.

During the event, Mrs. Vardinoyannis, a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and President of the ELPIDA Association of Friends of Children with Cancer and the ORAMA ELPIDA Association, was awarded the Gold Cross with Gold Laurel Branch, which is the highest decoration of the Hellenic Red Cross. Also honoured were volunteers of the three Sectors of the Red Cross:  Nursing, Social Welfare, and Samaritans, Rescuers and Lifeguards for the assistance they have given to people in need.

The President of the Hellenic Red Cross, Dr. Antonios Avgerinos, bestowing the award on Mrs. Vardinoyannis, noted: “The radiance of your personality on a global level is truly unique, and this decoration is the very least we can do by way of recognition of the humanitarian and volunteer work that you eagerly offer from your heart and that is an example to be emulated by all of us. A greatness of soul that truly touches our souls, and that we should all emulate. I will invoke the word ELPIDA [HOPE], which to me is a powerful word, an essential notion that is synonymous with social cohesion, solidarity and charity. I thank you for everything you have done. You have our heartfelt thanks.”

Deeply moved at receiving the award, Mrs. Vardinoyannis said: “This is a truly special moment for me. I stand in front of you, in this historic space of the Zappeion Megaron, holding in my hands the prize from the greatest humanitarian organization in the world, the Red Cross. I am deeply moved and honoured. I feel humble before the ideals of solidarity and altruism represented by this award and before the universal vision of Henri Dunant, who on this date, all those years ago, founded the Red Cross, offering hope to humanity and opening a new way to its lost identity, that of human charity. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this great honour and for the important recognition of my work with children. Work that began out of a motherly instinct, became a duty, a philosophy of life, a daily struggle, and is now part of my very self. You honour me deeply and you give me greater strength on this difficult course. My very warm thanks to the Hellenic Red Cross and to its President, Dr. Antonis Avgerinos, for this decoration and for their invaluable support for the work of the ELPIDA and ORAMA ELPIDAS Associations, as they have put the largest network of volunteers in Greece at the service of children with cancer. I am profoundly moved by the fact that, in a short while, at the culminating moment of this evening, we will honour the volunteers of the Hellenic Red Cross. Those who are dedicated to the common good; the social contribution of unseen heroes; the guardian angels of our society.  I am very proud of them, and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them and to shake their hands for the message of solidarity they send to our society, but also for the actual work they carry out, with dedication to and faith in their mission …I am truly proud to be here among you today, and all together we honour this symbolic anniversary and, together with this anniversary, the hopes and visions for a better tomorrow, of humanism and culture, throughout the world!”

IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS The President of the Hellenic Red Cross, Dr. Antonis Avgerinos, Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis and the volunteers honoured at the event.