ABMDR Delegation Participates in International Medical Congress of Armenia, Visits Stem Cell Harvesting Center

The delegation in front of the "Wall of Angels"

Match for Life Gala to be held in Los Angeles on July 31

LOS ANGELES—On the occasion of the Third International Medical Congress of Armenia, a delegation of the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) visited Yerevan earlier this month, participating in the prestigious medical congress and becoming familiarized with the registry’s life-saving work in the homeland. The Third International Medical Congress of Armenia was held from July 7 to 9, at the Yerevan State Medical University.

The ABMDR delegation consisted of several members of the registry’s Board of Directors and Board of Advisors, including Frieda Jordan, PhD; Arpi Kestenian, representative of Glendale Memorial Hospital; Ramella Markarian, representative of Glendale Adventist Medical Center; Lara Yeretsian, Esq.; Naz Atikian; Vergine Madelian, PhD; and Taleen Peroomian, as well as Vicken Sepilian, MD, president of the Armenian Medical Society of California.

For members of the delegation, most of whom were visiting the ABMDR Stem Cell Harvesting Center in Yerevan for the first time, becoming familiarized with its operations was a highly gratifying experience. The delegation’s visit coincided with the facility’s 13th stem cell harvesting procedure, which was carried out for a patient residing in Belgium.

“Although we’ve been volunteers and supporters of the registry for the past several years, and we’ve seen photos and videos of its work in the homeland, actually visiting the Yerevan site was an amazing, wonderful revelation,” Arpi Kestenian said. Her impressions were echoed by Dr. Vicken Sepilian. “Words can hardly describe my admiration and sheer joy as my colleagues and I were given a tour of the ABMDR premises,” he stated.

As the delegation visited the registry’s Stem Cell Harvesting Center, it had the opportunity to see all facets of the facility’s work. Welcoming the delegation were Sevak Avagyan, MD, the registry’s executive director; Mihran Nazaretyan, MD, PhD, MPH, the registry’s medical director; and other local staff members.

During its visit to the Stem Cell Harvesting Center, the delegation was shown the Wall of Angels, on which are inscribed the names of those who have made financial contributions to the ABMDR, including delegation members themselves.

Later the delegates were honored at a dinner hosted by former First Lady of Armenia and ABMDR Honorary Chair Dr. Bella Kocharian. During this event, which likewise was held in the Armenian capital, Dr. Avagyan spoke of the far-reaching contributions of each delegation member to the registry’s work and thanked them for their continued support.

At the medical congress
The ABMDR participated in the Third International Medical Congress of Armenia as a globally recognized Armenian health organization dedicated to immunogenetics research, stem cell harvesting, and bone marrow transplantation.

At the Armenian Medical International Committee (AMIC) meeting during the conference, Dr. Vergine Madelian presented a groundbreaking research paper that has been published in the July issue of Tissue Antigens. The paper, which contains the results of an extensive study conducted by a team of ABMDR scientists and researchers, for the first time confirms the uniqueness of the immunogenetics of Armenian populations across the world.

Dr. Frieda Jordan was also a featured speaker at the conference. Addressing the Diasporan Project session of the AMIC meeting, she spoke of the pan-Armenian mission of the ABMDR and familiarized attendees with the registry’s future goals and activities. In particular, Dr. Jordan spoke of the ABMDR’s leadership in organizing the first-ever European Federation for Immunogenetics meeting to be held in Armenia, in November 2011, and announced the registry’s urgent objective of establishing a full-fledged bone marrow transplantation center in Yerevan.

Both Dr. Madelian and Dr. Jordan’s presentations were received enthusiastically, and attendees were able to obtain additional details about the ABMDR through an information booth set up outside the conference hall.

Match for Life 2011 Gala
On Sunday, July 31, 2011, the ABMDR will hold its most important annual event, the Match for Life Gala.

The highly anticipated occasion, which has garnered the support of the entire Armenian community as well as mainstream healthcare organizations, will take place at the Glendale Hilton, in California, with Mark Geragos, Esq., as Master of Ceremonies. The event’s main corporate sponsor is Glendale Adventist Medical Center.

The Gala will be an opportunity to celebrate recent ABMDR milestones and  share ongoing goals with the public. In addition, during the event the registry will honor a number of outstanding supporters and volunteers, including Dr. Vergine Madelian as Woman of the Year; George Titizian as Man of the Year; Ani Azar, Dr. Evelyn Baghdasraian, and Sophik Zargarian as Volunteers of the Year; and 4over, Inc. as Business of the Year.

Match for Life 2011 will also include an unprecedented entertainment program featuring Victor Espinola, Armen Movsessian, and Alexander Zhiroff of the acclaimed world-music ensemble The Forbidden Saints.

For tickets or sponsorship opportunities, call Amalia Kiureghlian at (818) 389-4202; the ABMDR office at (323) 663-3609; or email abmdrla@sbcglobal.net

About Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry: Established in 1999, the ABMDR, a nonprofit organization, helps 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 20,000 donors in 13 countries across three continents, identified 2,000 patients, found 1,656 potential matches, and facilitated 13 bone marrow transplants.

For more information, call (323) 663-3609 or visit abmdr.am.

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