GENEVA—Dr. Frieda Jordan, president of the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR), Dr. Sevak Avagyan, executive director of the organization, and Armine Hyusyan, supervisor of the ABMDR Lab in Yerevan, participated in the 29th European Immunogenetics and Histocompatibility Conference. Organized by the European Federation of Immunogenetics (EFI), the conference took place at the Geneva Conference Center in Geneva, Switzerland, from April 26 to April 29. Drs. Jordan and Avagyan represented Armenia at the prestigious event, which was attended by scientists, doctors in the fields of immunogenetics and transplantation, and representatives of national bone marrow donor registries from throughout the globe.
Drs. Jordan and Avagyan presented two scientific abstracts at the conference. Dr. Jordan also made a presentation on the unique genetic makeup of ethnic Armenians in Armenia and the Armenian diaspora. The presentation received accolades from leaders of EFI and attendees alike. Dr. Jordan, who is an EFI inspector in charge of helping accredit national bone marrow donor registries, later completed the annual EFI Inspectors’ Workshop, representing the Republic of Armenia. The workshop was organized as part of the EFI conference.
“It’s equally gratifying and humbling to represent our homeland at such an important scientific conference,” Dr. Jordan said. “Our participation in the event was all the more significant because only a few months ago our lab in Yerevan passed the annual EFI accreditation inspection with flying colors.”
During their visit in Geneva, the ABMDR representatives also had the opportunity to meet with the local Armenian community and raise awareness of the registry’s life-saving mission. On April 26, a community gathering was held at Geneva’s Saint Hagop Church. The event, which took place in the hall of the church following Mass, was organized by the Church Council, headed by the Very Rev. Fr. Archimandrite Gusan Alchanyan.
In his opening remarks, Fr. Alchanyan welcomed Drs. Jordan and Avagyan and introduced the life-saving mission of ABMDR. Subsequently Drs. Jordan and Avagyan made a presentation on the work of the Registry in Armenia, Artsakh, and Armenian communities across the world. The presentation was complemented by a question-and-answer session, during which Drs. Jordan and Avagyan further discussed ABMDR’s Stem Cell Harvesting Center in Yerevan, recruitment and community-outreach programs, and the importance of becoming bone marrow stem cell donors in order to help save lives.
In solidarity with the mission of ABMDR, Fr. Alchanyan as well as several other members of the Geneva Armenian community joined the ranks of the registry, as potential bone marrow stem cell donors.
The ABMDR representatives also had the chance to meet with a number of Swiss-Armenian supporters and thanked them for their vital advocacy of the registry’s mission.
“The rewards of our work come in the form of genuine grassroots support and genuine dedication to our pan-Armenian mission, both of which we were happy to experience during our visit in Geneva,” Dr. Avakyan said.
Established in 1999, ABMDR, 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 26,000 donors in 24 countries across four continents, identified 2,482 patients, and facilitated 20 bone marrow transplants.