Memorandum of Understanding signed between " Mother and Child Institute” In Serbia and the Children's Oncology Unit "Marianna V. Vardinoyannis - ELPIDA"
Published: 2013 / 07 / 26
Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia, accompanied by the Serbian Ambassador to Greece, HE Mr. Dragan Zupanjevac and his spouse Borjana, visited the Children's Oncology Unit "Marianna V. Vardinoyannis- ELPIDA" to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the Serbian “Mother and Child Health Care Institute, Dr. Vukan Cupic" and the Children's Oncology Unit "Marianna V.Vardinoyannis-ELPIDA."
Also present at the event was the Greek Minister of Health, Mr. Adonis Georgiadis.
The President of the Association of Friends of Children with Cancer "ELPIDA" Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, welcomed and thanked them for their interest and their support for ill children and their families.
During his speech Minister Georgiadis said: "Mrs. Vardinoyannis it is a miracle what you have you achieved here! Only pride can feel someone watching what has been done here. On behalf of the Greek Government I would like to thank you and all the employees. This is the good face of Greece which we should show. In these difficult times of crisis we can move our country forward, and give hope again! Here we have a hospital that has excellent personnel with the best education and the environment has nothing less from any other hospital all over the world, while children receive so much love from everyone. It is a small miracle! Thank you and as far as I am concerned as Minister of Health, I will be 24 hours of the day available when I can be a helper to make this miracle even more. Thank you for this emotion you have given us. Thank you very much."
Mrs. Vardinoyannis warmly thanked the Minister for his kind words and the intention to contribute to the work of the hospital, and gave him a commemorative gift on behalf of the Association "ELPIDA."
Subsequently, Mrs Vardinoyannis addressed the Crown Prince and Princess of Serbia and expressed her emotion for their presence in the hospital, since they have watched and supported the work of the Association "ELPIDA" for many years and also because the Association "ELPIDA" and the "Foundation Marianna V. Vardinoyannis" all these years have a special and close relationship with the children of Serbia - in difficult times for the country both of the organisations took care to send humanitarian aid to children - victims of war and later created the kindergarten" Athena" in the Zemun municipality of Belgrade.
"It is a great honor for us here today, Mrs. Vardinoyannis said, and your desire to seal our friendship with the signing of A Memorandum of Cooperation between the "Mother and Child Health Care Institute" in Serbia and our hospital. ... Our countries worked together many times in the past and I believe that through our current agreement they will develop a very strong alliance in the field of health.
I would like to express our most heartfelt thanks for your good will and your valuable contribution to our efforts for children. It is not the first time you visit us. I remember with emotion how warm was your visit to Elpida Guest House a few years ago and how consistent and persistent is your presence with us in every initiative we take.
The humanitarian work that you are doing through the organisation "Lifeline Hellas", your institution in Greece, and through the "HRH Crown Princess Katherine Foundation" in Serbia, is continuous and relieves many people in need, children and newborn babies. The people of Serbia should be proud of you and what you have accomplished for the benefit of your country. But the Greek people should feel proud as the Princess of Serbia, you remain Greek in the heart ... Today we sign the memorandum of understanding between the "Mother and Child Health Care Institute" in Serbia and our hospital, a new path is opened for a healthier society and more friendly to children... ".
Concluding her speech Mrs. Vardinoyannis thanked the Serbian Ambassador and his wife for their contribution in the signing of the Memorandum and their visit to the hospital.
Afterwards, Prince Alexander said: "Many congratulations for the hard work that you are doing for the children at "ELPIDA "organization. We are deeply moved. It is unbelievable that we have this collaboration between the two countries, we are very proud and we admire you, because we know each other so many years and we know the hard work that you do as well. We are impressed by the film that we just watched with everything your association has achieved till today. It is very important to have advanced technology in this hospital, so you can heal many children, among them our own child, the Serbian little girl, Theodora."
During her speech Crown Princess Katherine among other things said: "I feel a great emotion today because of this dream we see here and for which I had heard, I had seen and I was sure that it would come true because of the friendship of my family and the Vardinoyannis family, for 30 years. This vision was always at the heart of my friend Marianna and her group "ELPIDA", which all work together, and I knew that it would come true, it will not run out.
First they put the foundation in the mind and then in what they build.
Whatever they build, they build it with love, with care and the belief that with God's help it will be held. The dedication of "ELPIDA" under the direction of Marianna is something I have not seen anywhere in the world.
What she has done with "ELPIDA" and the guest houses in children and throughout Greece is an example. I am still waiting to see it is performed by other operators too. I know there are many efforts to help. I am proud of "LIFELINE" and the President Mr. Boukouvalas and the Board of Directors, which also not only helped Serbia but as he said the last four years we help Greece. I will never forget in my life the honour that you give us today.
I've dedicated my life to helping children in Serbia. I have seen the pain, the failures I've seen stress from parents and children who passed away.
Here this group keeps kids alive. This group gives love, gives care but gives also medical aid. Something special in Marianna is that she learned the joy of giving when she was very young and I believe as I did following my parents who were telling me "you have two hands, one for you and one to help others". There is no greater happiness than to give. Happiness is not to get it is to give. But we have to learn that from when we are very young.
Children here with cancer see the offer, you become an example and when they grow up they will never forget what you have offered them and first of all that you gave them life, the greatest gift that God gives to all. I am very proud of my husband who brought me in Serbia in to a place where I can give, but everybody should emulate Marianna's example. The success of Marianna is not only her perseverance, her love, but also that she knows how to put her priorities. This is the reason why she is a wonderful grandmother, mother, wife and has her conscience clear, that helping everyone else she has not forgotten her own family. Marianna I wish God gives strength and health to you and to everyone here, in order to continue the great effort and for the world to see what you have created, even in difficult moments ... I want you to know that I am close to you too and this collaboration with " Mother and Child Health Care Institute" is a collaboration that we can share ideas and thoughts and someday I would like to send our doctors here and yours to us.
This is the idea for this cooperation to work together for a better future. The gift that I can offer you is two doctors from here and two from Serbia to go together in Texas with our expense in order to learn more than they know. This is the offer of "HRH CROWN PRINCESS KATHERINE FOUNDATION" and "LIFELINE". The machines here are amazing. Now we will try to help the doctors to learn something new, to work better. God be with you, to continue ... I will always stand by you. I want to share my efforts in Greece and Serbia. The Greece saved our children. Now Serbia will save yours. "
Also, Princess Katherine did not forget to made a special mention to Mr. Vardis Vardinoyannis saying: "Although Mr. Vardinoyannis is not here today he is in our thought. Because first of all he is a great philanthropist and the greatest gift he gave us is the choice of Marianna. Giving us this gift these wonderful children and grandchildren who have created which is their power and with this power they continue to help everyone. I would like to say a big thank you to Vardis for his great heart, for his generosity and for Marianna."
Mrs. Vardinoyannis warmly thanked her for her contribution and her kind words and she invited her with Prince Alexander to put the flag of Serbia on the "Map of Peace and Hope": "On this map, Mrs. Vardinoyannis explained, we paint the countries with which we collaborate in twinning and we place their flags. Our goal is to paint over the map and place as much flags, honouring the countries and our cooperation with them."
The event ended with the placement of the stars with the names of Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia on the wall of the Stars of the hospital where are already placed many stars with names of famous celebrities who have visited the hospital.
But the most touching moment of the event was when Christina Fytilis, one of the successfully treated children of 'ELPIDA', who was there, said: "I want to say from the bottom of my heart that if I tell someone to change a time of my life mandatory the only thing I would not change are the moments that I were infected. Because all this experience made me become the person I am and the person who I really would like to be. I would like to say specially to the parents whose children are nursed here that I had diagnosis and after relapse. My first diagnosis was in 1995 when there was not the association "ELPIDA", neither the hospital nor the guest house. I did not stay in Athens but in the province, and with my parents traveled 3 times a week 450 km.
There was nowhere to stay or none to offer help, or talk to someone. There were very difficult conditions. The second time after my relapse I stayed in the guest house and I can see now that the kids have the benefits of a luxurious hotel. You have to know that they are very lucky that there is "ELPIDA" next to them. I do know how important it is. It is a divine gift, because I know how is to deal with difficult situations without "ELPIDA"
and how is to face the same situations with the "ELPIDA" on your side".
The event was attended by: The Deputy Governor of Children's Hospital "Agia Sofia", Mrs. Irene Todoulou, the President of Lifeline Hellas, Dr. Zissis Boukouvalas and his wife Dr. Alkistis Prinou, members of the Board of Directors of Lifeline Hellas, Mr. John Sahinis, Mrs. Nassia Papamanolis, Members of the Board of the Association "ELPIDA", ladies Eleni Samara Konstantakatou, Kettis Philippidou, Rita Moraitaki and the sister of Princess Katherine, Mrs. Betty Roumeliotis.
The "Mother and Child Institute Dr. Vukan Cupic" in Serbia was founded in 1953
and includes medical and surgical pediatric clinic, part scientific research on fertility, etc., as well hostel which houses parents of children undergoing chemotherapy, if the residence is located 100 kilometers or more.
From the left : Prince Alexander, Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, Princess Katherine, HE Dragan Zupanjevac, Mrs. Borjana Zupanjevac, Dr. Alkistis Boukouvalas, Mrs. Eleni Samaras, Dr. Zissis Boukouvalas, Mrs. Ketty Filippidou, Mrs. Rita Moraitaki, Mrs. Nassia Papamanolis, Mr. Giannis Sahinis, Mrs. Betty Roumeliotis and IreneTodoulou.