Irish stars turned out in force this afternoon for ‘Liz and Noel’s Chernobyl Lunch’ at the Intercontinental Hotel to raise vital funds for Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International charity.
The annual fundraiser hosted by Chernobyl Children International (CCI) Board Directors Liz O’Donnell (RSA Chairperson) and Noel Kelly (Businessman, Talent Manager) – has played a pivotal role in supporting the charity to reach its goals for the past decade.
Speaking at the event was 25-year-old, Marharyta Marozova, a child victim of Chernobyl who was rescued from Baby Home No 3 by Adi Roche.
Marharyta was brought to Ireland for life-saving treatment in the nineties having been born with a significant amount of physical impairments which urgently needed medical treatment.
Marharyta spoke about her childhood memories of growing up in an institution and about being rescued from incarceration at the event:
“I often imagined myself escaping and on the other side of the fence, alone. I knew then that we are all alone here. I couldn’t calm myself down, I cried for hours. I was only 3.5 years old,” she said.
“Every day was the same routine but I remember one day a lady came to visit us. She was Adi Roche. That day changed my life, actually SAVED my life even though I was too young to know that then! I learned years later that at that time I was to be sent to a mental asylum for children who had reached 4 years old.”
Marharyta discussed the life-saving treatment which she received during her time in Ireland in an emotionally charged speech at the lunch.
She said: “My Irish Mom and Dad saved my life. They brought me to Ireland for medical treatment and I received the very best in care.”
“The specialist, Mr Leahy, told mom and dad that I would ‘die’ in my late teens if he didn’t give me treatment. Over many years I came back and forth to Tralee and little by little my condition was brought under control.”
CCI’s Voluntary CEO Adi Roche reflected on Marharyta’s powerful speech and said: “Marharyta is one of the lucky ones. She was rescued from her life in the institution and has the love of two families.”
“Thousands of childrenaren’t so lucky and are left languishing in institutions, dreaming and hoping that they too might someday be rescued.”
Before the lunch, guests enjoyed a champagne reception sponsored by Marks and Spencer.
Businesses from all over the country showed their support for Liz and Noel’s Chernobyl Lunch by sponsoring a selection of gorgeous prizes including hotel breaks from Blue Book, the Clonakilty Park Hotel, the Blue Haven Hotel, and the Dingle Skelligamong others, and a variety of gifts from renowned brands such as Chupi, Holos Skincare, McGuirke’s Golf and more.
There was also a selection of auction items up for sale including a home renovation consultation with lead architect Dermot Bannon, and a beautiful ball-gown from esteemed Irish designer Don O’Neill.