Armenian Woman Donates Stem Cells to Save Life of Cancer Patient In Israel

From left: Dr. Sevak Avagyan, Dr. Bella Kocharian, Maria, and Dr. Andranik Mshetsyan during the harvesting procedure

Stem cell harvesting procedure performed by Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry

LOS ANGELES—Seven years ago, when Maria, a Yerevan resident, became a bone marrow stem cell donor with the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR), she had no clue that someday she would actually be able to help save someone’s life. That opportunity presented itself on March 9.

After Hadassah Medical Center’s Bone Marrow Transplant Department, in Jerusalem, contacted ABMDR for a matched-donor request, Maria, 36, was identified as a match for a cancer patient in Israel. As further tests confirmed Maria as a perfect match, Hadassah requested from ABMDR that her stem cells be harvested for a bone marrow transplant that could save the life of the Israeli patient.

Maria’s stem cells were harvested at ABMDR’s Stem Cell Harvesting Center, in the Armenian capital. Once the painless, non-invasive harvesting procedure, performed by Dr. Andranik Mshetsyan, was completed, the donated stem cells were flown to Israel through a special courier. Maria has been an ABMDR bone marrow stem cell donor since 2009. She is a nurse and the mother of two children: Alex, 15; and Knarik, 18 months old.

Present at Maria’s harvesting procedure were ABMDR Executive Director Dr. Sevak Avagyan and Medical Director Dr. Mihran Nazaretyan, as well as Dr. Bella Kocharian, former First Lady of Armenia. Dr. Kocharian became ABMDR’s very first registered bone marrow donor when the organization was established in 1999, and has served as its Honorary Chair ever since.

“We Armenians are a Mediterranean people, and, as such, share our genes with peoples throughout the region, whether they be Jews, Greeks, Italians, or Ethiopians,” Dr. Avagyan said. “Today we are absolutely delighted that the life of a patient in Israel is poised to be saved through an Armenian bone marrow donor. Nothing can be more gratifying!”

The Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry was established in 1999, and is a nonprofit organization, helps Armenians and non-Armenians worldwide survive life-threatening blood-related illnesses by recruiting and matching donors to those requiring bone marrow stem cell transplants. To date, the registry has recruited over 28,000 donors in 28 countries across four continents, identified over 3,500 patients, and facilitated 26 bone marrow transplants. For more information, call (323) 663-3609 or visit abmdr.am.

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2 Comments

  1. ArmenianHope said:

    In addition to saving precious lives, I hope these acts of kindness bring people closer.

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