Bill Papastergiadis pays tribute to the late philanthropist Marianna Vardinogiannis

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By Bill Papastergiadis OAM*

Five years ago on a hot summer day in Greece, Marianna Vardinogiannis invited me to visit the Children’s Oncology Hospital ‘Marianna Vardinogiannis – ELPIDA’ in Goudi, Athens, along with John Chorozoglou Elpida.

On my arrival at Elpida, I was greeted with a huge smile and a warm embrace by Marianna and the head of the hospital. Over the next two hours, Marianna personally took us on a tour of the hospital where we spoke to numerous doctors about the services offered to children. We were informed about the better treatments available over the last few years, as well as the survival rates. I was also introduced to many of the parents and children then at the hospital.

Children’s Oncology Hospital ‘Marianna Vardinogiannis – ELPIDA’ in Goudi, Athens.

What became immediately apparent was the love that Marianna had for the children in care at this hospital. Treating children with cancer with the best medical care and with dignity was at the core of her beliefs. Marianna was deeply invested in helping these children and their parents during the most difficult period of their lives.

Interestingly, I was fascinated with the layout and colours and furniture that were placed throughout the facility. To me, the hospital had a uniquely “Greek feel” about it. No doubt its aim was to make all the people involved feel as if they were at home and that the treatment process would fit neatly into their daily activities.

The layout, colours and furniture of the hospital had a uniquely “Greek feel” about it.

The passion which Marianna spoke about this hospital was visible to all. Marianna was animated and energetic in her words and mannerisms. I felt inspired by Marianna.

My memories of that day are lasting and have remained with me since. Her actions embolden all of us to contribute where we can to help others who are in need. Marianna may have passed away but her legacy remains.

*President of the Greek Community of Melbourne.

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