HUMANITARIAN worker Adi Roche is to be honoured by the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI).
Ms Roche, founder of the Chernobyl Children International charity, is to receive an Honourary Fellowship from the RCPI in recognition of her “tireless, globally recognised” work on behalf of the victims of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.
It is the highest honour bestowed by RCPI and is reserved for world leaders in medical science and those who have made an exceptional contribution to children’s lives and society as a whole.
Recipients in recent years have included President Michael D. Higgins and UN High Commissioner Mary Robinson.
Ms Roche began her work for Chernobyl’s victims and survivors in the aftermath of the accident in 1986 and formally founded Chernobyl Children International (CCI) in 1991.
CCI has since gone on to deliver over €105 million in humanitarian aid to the region. Ms Roche is the charity’s voluntary CEO.
The ceremony took place at the RCPI’s historic headquarters at No. 6 Kildare Street on Friday evening.
“To stand in this historic building with doctors who undertake life-saving work on vulnerable children on a daily basis is a true honour,” Ms Roche said.
“I graciously accept this honour on behalf of Chernobyl Children International, on behalf of our countless volunteers but more than that, I accept it gladly on behalf of all the victims and survivors of the world’s worst nuclear disaster that, even 31 years later, remains an unfolding tragedy.”
The latest CCI Cardiac Mission is in Ukraine treating babies and children born with congenital heart defects.
The mission, which involves flying in teams of cardiac surgeons from all over the world to the region, provides surgery to those who would otherwise not survive beyond five years.
Since the programme's’ initiation, almost 20 years ago, the lives of almost 4,000 children have been saved by CCI’s Irish-funded surgical teams.
Dr Raymond Barry, Dean of the Faculty of Paediatrics said he was delighted that Ms Roche accepted the honour.
“We are very grateful to be in a position to pay tribute to Adi in recognition of her many years of work trying to improve the lives of children and families affected by the Chernobyl disaster.”