May 25, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Marianna Vardinoyanni passed away

Marianna Vardinoyanni passed away at the age of 80 due to a respiratory infection. It should be noted that recently she was hospitalized in a private clinic, and, according to some reports, her health deteriorated to an extreme degree, she was on life support.

Marianna Vardinoyanni, known for her philanthropic work, was born in Athens and grew up in Ermioni, where her mother Evangelia resided. Her father, George Burnakis, was from Sabatika in Arcadia.

She was married to prominent businessman Vardis I. Vardinoyannis, Chairman of the Motor Oil Company and ship owner, with whom they had five children – Gyannis, Christiana, Giorgos, Nikos and Vardiana.

Vardinoyannis was the chairman and founder of the “Children and Family Foundation”, which was renamed the “Marianna B. Vardinoyannis Foundation”, and the Association of Friends of Children with Cancer, “ELPIDA”. Since 1999, she has been a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for children’s rights, protection and cultural heritage. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Women’s International Peace Movement, International Missing and Injured Children’s Center (ICMEC), Mentor Foundation Against Drugs. She was even one of the founders of the Light of Africa Foundation, headed by His Beatitude Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria, a member of the Presidential Council of the Europe-Eurasia Special Olympics.

French President Marianne Vardinoyanni was awarded the title of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, and in 2015 she was awarded the title of Officer of the Legion of Honor. In 2020, she was awarded the Nelson Mandela Prize.

“This extremely important award is a recognition of my fight against childhood cancer and the work of my foundation in defense of human rights in education and society. This is a real honor not only for me, but also for my country, Greece, and the Greek people who support my work and humanitarian efforts. This award goes to the thousands of children who have been a source of our strength in the fight against childhood cancer for over 30 years. Children from Greece, the Balkans, the Mediterranean, Africa and other countries are our daily heroes”– she said.

“Vardis was and still is my support.” In a recent interview with Gala magazine, M. Vardinoyanni, who has always kept a low profile, spoke about her personal life, how she met her husband, who has been her mainstay for many years.

“This is the most important moment in my life, along with the birth of children. We met at a relatives’ house in Piraeus, when I was still a schoolgirl, and he was a naval officer. From the first minute I realized that he was the man of my life. From that first meeting, we never stopped thinking about each other. Even the fact that I went to America to continue my studies could not come between us. I was in America and only thought about when the letter from Vardis would arrive.

We have been through a lot in our life together. Struggle and difficulties, joys and sorrows, but always together– she said, – Vardis has been and remains my rock. He is my man, and I have the happiness to share sorrows and joys with him. He has always not only fully supported me, but has also been a source of my strength, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart.”.

About the touching stories of children in “Elpida”, the founder of the Association M. Vardinoyanni said: “These are thousands of stories, because there are thousands of children living in Elpida, each of whom I know by name. All of them are like my children, and therefore I cannot single them out and tell just one story. What mother can tell one of her children apart? The moments I spent with them and what they taught me is the treasure of my life. Thanks to these children, thanks to hope, I learned to never give up. The face of each of our recovered children, their smile and their life path is a confirmation and a source of strength to continue the fight.”

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