The Marianna V. Vardinoyannis-ELPIDA Children’s Oncology Unit, welcomed Sello Hatang, the CEO of the “Nelson Mandela Foundation”, during a visit on Tuesday, 6 July 2021, accompanied by the Ambassador of South Africa, Mrs. Beryl Rose Sisulu.
Mr. Hatang and Mrs. Sisulu were greeted by the President of the “ELPIDA-Association of Friends of Children with cancer,” Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, and the Director of “Agia Sofia” and “P&A Kyriakou” Children’s Hospitals, Mr. Manolis Papasavvas.
With great emotion, in the context of this highly symbolic visit, Mrs. Vardinoyannis talked about the work and lessons of Nelson Mandela, which have always been “a source of inspiration for her”: “Nelson Mandela’s vision and work have always been a source of inspiration for me. The entire ELPIDA family, and I personally, feel very honoured that the United Nations, through the 2020 Nelson Mandela Prize, has recognised the great battle we are waging on our children’s side. I am deeply moved by your presence here today at our Oncology Hospital, where the heart of ELPIDA beats, on the side of the children to whom I have dedicated this great distinction, as they have been the source of our strength and courage all these years.”
Quoting a saying of SouthAfrica, the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation congratulated Mrs. Vardinoyannis on her work, which he described as a “ray of hope” for all of mankind: “My mother used to say, “a mother will hold the knife from the blade to protect her children.” I feel that you are precisely that, and when I return to my homeland I will tell them that I met a mother in Greece who “holds the knife from the blade” for children throughout the world. Nelson Mandela fought for hope and democracy. I believe that this is what you are doing, showing us, through your example, that tomorrow will be better than today. Continue to be a ray of hope, and I am certain that the future of mankind will be better when there are people like you.”
On her part, the Ambassador of South Africa, Mrs. Beryl Rose Sisulu, also spoke with great emotion about Mrs. Vardinoyannis’ work and contribution: “If it weren’t for you, thousands of children would have been lost. I feel truly humble before you and I honour you for everything you have offered. You have a truly big heart. In everything you are doing, you are in fact implementing the ideals Nelson Mandela fought for.” It should be noted that Mrs. Beryl Rose Sisulu and her family were linked by strong ties to the Mandela family.
Mrs. Vardinoyannis awarded Mr. Hatang and Mrs. Sisulu honorary distinctions of ELPIDA, in recognition of their important work, and together they placed the star of the “Nelson Mandela Foundation on the “ELPIDA Wall of Stars.”