This agreement was signed by the President of the ELPIDA Foundation in Cyprus, Dr. Loizos G. Loizou and the President of the ELPIDA Association, Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, who was in Nicosia for this purpose.
The collaboration between the two organisations was at the initiative of Ms. Andri Anastasiades, the First Lady of Cyprus, and the Honorary President of the Elpida Foundation-Cyprus, who elaborated on the venture during the ceremony and praised the work of Mrs V. Vardinoyannis.
The ceremony opened with a speech by the President of the Cyprus, Mr. Nikos Anastasiades, who welcomed Mrs Vardinoyannis and congratulated her on her work, amongst other things he said: “Together we will send a message of hope to the children of our countries who are currently suffering from cancer and those who have had the painful experience of cancer or leukaemia. Today, our two foundations seal their joint efforts to combat childhood and adolescent cancer. In fighting this nightmare together we will become more powerful and more effective. We will acquire more scientific, organisational and even financial strength which will allow us to look our children straight in the eye and promise them hope… I am more than sure that the joint efforts of Mrs Vardinoyannis and my dear wife through the two institutions that they preside over will play a crucial role. Moreover, the lifelong dedication of Mrs. Vardinoyannis, as well as the ongoing work of the two institutions, in Greece and Cyprus, stand as testament to your commitment to the defence of children’s rights. Fully aware of the difficulties, you strive to overcome them, giving your utmost. I shall close my speech with the very words of Mrs. Vardinoyannis “The impossible is possible as long as you believe and fight,” which echoes my wife’s sentiments exactly.
The speech was then continued by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who greeted the audience by pointing out: “Today in Greece, the ELPIDA Association is a jewel in the crown of the welfare state. Something similar is also happening in Cyprus, parallel lives united by hope in a pivotal and meaningful collaboration which is of the utmost importance. The seeds of today will blossom and grow into hope and expectation so our children are able to better face the challenges in their path. I, for one, will do all that is within my power in order to fully contribute to this cause.
Mrs Andri Anastasiades then continued with her thoughts on the collaboration between the two foundations by highlighting: “We are here to strengthen hope for the organisation in Greece and Cyprus, both foundations have supported the ongoing fight for children rights over the years and now through this collaboration they are to become an even greater force. These initiatives are realized when there is determination and zeal for charitable contribution. Such values are wholeheartedly embraced by the President of the Association of Friends of Children with Cancer (ELPIDA), Marianna Vardinoyannis, she is a shining example of dedication to social contribution and has shed a welcome ray of light on the care of children with cancer. Today, here at the Presidential Palace, ELPIDA-Greece and ELPIDA-Cyprus have become a ray of hope for a whole nation and the future of Hellenism, providing the best possible treatments and support for our children… Marianna Vardinoyannis is a refreshing example of altruism, expressing a genuine interest in extending support that touches the lives of those in need.
Mrs Vardinoyannis, was touched by the warm reception that she received from the President of Cyprus and his wife, she thanked them both in her speech and mentioned among other things the special relationship that Greece shares with the people of Cyprus: “You are a heroic people full of sensitivity, humanism and ideal. This is reflected in your face, Mr. President, and also in your words through which you express the very soul of the Cypriot race, which is to stand by every child whose life is threatened…. It is no coincidence that Cyprus is acclaimed for its social sensitivity and that it is number one worldwide for its amount of volunteer bone marrow donors per population. Indeed, it is our partnership with the Karaiskakio Foundation that has helped ELPIDA create the Volunteer Bone Marrow Donors Register called ‘Vision of Hope’, gathering more than 30,000 volunteer donors within two years. Cyprus is a country that over the centuries has taught us the meaning of humanity and solidarity. The indestructible bond between Cyprus and Greece is proudly symbolized by the presence today of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos. I would like to wholeheartedly thank him for his kind words and valuable support of the work of our Association and also of our new collaboration with the ELPIDA Foundation in Cyprus. This moment is a true blessing… Through this alliance of love and life, ELPIDA-Greece and ELPIDA-Cyprus strengthen their forces in order to create a united front in the battle against childhood cancer and send a strong message of support to all families in both countries who are facing the daily struggle for the survival of their child. Here, I would like to take the opportunity to extend my gratitude to Mrs. Andri Anastasiades for her invaluable support of our campaign and congratulate her on her important and multi-faceted humanitarian aid in Cyprus for children with cancer and other illnesses. Her deep sensitivity, kindness and her strong values make her a truly special person, I greatly admire her and I consider myself lucky to have met her. Thanks to the initiatives of Miss Anastasiades, the work of our two associations has finally joined forces through this collaboration that we are to commit to. Our Association and our Oncology Hospital through our special twinning programme collaborate with Paediatric Hospitals around the world. However, today, as I find myself here, amongst you, I feel a strong sense of ‘togetherness’ which I believe perfectly defines our working relationship. This collaboration between a Cypriot and Greek organisation who hold the same charitable purpose and which were established in the same year (1990), have helped hundreds of children and their families to beat cancer. I would also like to thank the President of the ELPIDA Foundation of Cyprus, Dr. Loizos Loizou for our valuable collaboration as I am sure that it will yield the best results for our children and I would also like to congratulate him on the difficult and important project being carried out for children in the Archbishop Makarios III Hospital. This alliance offers us all courage and strength and in this difficult battle, we will now proceed together with the aid of ELPIDA to guide our common values, believing that, even if only one child is saved, it’s worth the fight.
Also attending the event were his beatitude the Archbishop of Cyprus, Chrysostomos II, members of Cypriot Ministerial Cabinet, heads and representatives of political parties, the Ambassador of Greece in Cyprus, Mr. Ilias Fotopoulos, the Ambassador of Cyprus to Greece, Mr Kyriakos Kenevezos, the wife of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Madam Sissy Pavlopoulou, entrepreneurs, artists, members of the Board of the Elpida Foundation of Cyprus, nurses and rehabilitated children.