We were very sorry to hear about the death of our Patron, Princess Marina Sturdza on Sunday 22nd October. She died peacefully at her home in New York after a long battle with illness.
Princess Marina has been involved with Hospices of Hope and Hospice Casa Sperantei for many years. She first met our founder, Graham Perolls, in 1997 and immediately wanted to visit our hospice in Brasov as she was born in the area. Since then she has given this charity and our patients in Romania her constant support and she has worked tirelessly for us in the UK, Romania and in the US.
Princess Marina’s family was forced to flee Romania when the communist era started and her mother and step-father left their young daughter Marina behind. She was smuggled out of Romania by a Swiss diplomat when she was three and in a speech she gave for us in Edinburgh she explained that
If I am here to speak to you tonight it is only because of the kindness of strangers, people I never met and who never met me. People who were willing to risk position and their lives to help a three-year old to safety from the communist regime. I never met those people, but I will never forget them.
She likened the kindness of those strangers, her rescuers, to our supporters who help us care for our child patients they do not know in foreign countries they may not have visited. She said
The kindness of strangers is often what makes this a civilised world, the care and compassion we extend to those who are helpless and in need. We will never be able to help every man, woman and child in distress, but it is within our power to help the children and those who care for them, to make what is left of their limited lives, a very great deal better.
Graham Perolls said
Marina lived an extraordinary life and was an extraordinary human being. She used her position to benefit the lives of thousands of vulnerable citizens in her birth country – a country which had not been kind to her in her early years. She was our hospice patron for more than 20 years and will be remembered for her indomitable spirit in the face of adversity, her warmth and compassion, and her hard work on behalf of all our beneficiaries.