Clonmel-born 'Angel of Mercy' Adi Roche has just returned from a whirlwind trip to Ukraine and Belarus - a trip that she describes as gruelling, both physically and emotionally but also motivating, inspiring, powerful and successful as well.
The Chernobyl Children International founder traveled with a highly skilled Irish delegation with a mix of objectives, which went from high-level, negotiating meetings to visiting an ICU in Ukraine where babies lives were being saved by CCI sponsored cardiac surgeon Dr Bill Novick and team.
"In Belarus, we were lucky enough to meet with a group of highly-skilled, Irish volunteers in Vesnova who showed the vulnerable children living there unconditional care and affection", she says.
Adi adds that she is continually inspired by this commitment and energy the volunteers continue to give to the children who are living in the world's most contaminated zones. "Volunteers keep the memory of the Chernobyl disaster alive in the minds of our nation. During my time in Ukraine, I was also reminded of the ongoing conflict in the region and the resulting impact was all too visible in the hospital where our team were battling to save young babies' lives.
"It is our volunteer's first-hand experiences that keeps the memory of Chernobyl alive and in-turn, enables us to support the victims of Chernobyl. They inspire me on a daily basis!
"Without the hard-work and dedication of the Irish people, none of these life-saving programmes in either Ukraine or Belarus would be happening and for this, I thank supporters from the bottom of my heart".