The Armenian-American Medical Society held its 34th anniversary celebration gala on Saturday at the Sheraton Universal Hotel, where more than 800 physicians, community leaders and supporters turned out to welcome Anna Hakobyan, spouse of Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. In her remarks Hakobyan emphasized that her charity, City of Smiles, is dedicated to helping cancer-stricken children in Armenia.
During the gala, the AAMS also bestowed its lifetime achievement award to musician and activist Serj Tankian, who highlighted the need to advance Armenia’s healthcare system and discussed the important task ahead for all Armenians in the wake of last year’s Velvet Revolution that advanced the aspirations of the people of Armenia.
“This event has a very important mission – to help children suffering cancer in Armenia. Today we are uniting for one goal – to ensure healthy, peaceful and happy childhood for Armenian kids. Hundreds of children in Armenia are diagnosed with cancer annually. We are here to assist these children. Together we can fight for the life of each child suffering cancer, and this is our duty not to allow their lives to end due to lack of finances,” said Hakobyan who was the keynote speaker of the event.
Hakobyan, who is the chairperson of the City of Smiles board of trustees, said that in less developed countries, such as Armenia, cancer and death are synonyms. Through her charity, she hopes to ease the burden placed on the families of pediatric cancer patients by providing them with medical care and assistance, which is extremely cost-prohibitive in Armenia.
“The City of Smile Foundation has been created to change lives, to take these lives to positive direction and return smile to children and their parents. We are starting to keep one smile at the same time bringing smile to a family because as I have once said – by saving one’s life we save the world. Most of you have helped our homeland many times, I know this, and you have done it without any expectation, your only one concern was for your support to reach the right place,” explained Hakobyan.
“The worst thing in the world is when you imagine the parents who are sitting next to their kids who are sick in bed and are unable to help them. Today the several hundred people are gathered here and this means how many people stand together with these children and their parents. Once again thank you for being here, I want to thank the team that made this event a reality, thank you for the cooperation and standing with Armenia,” added Hakobyan.
All proceeds of the AAMS gala will be allocated to the City of Smile Charitable Foundation.
Hakobyan was accompanied to event by Armenia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Varuzhan Nersesyan, the Armenian Consul General in Los Argeles Dr. Armen Bayburdian and the chief operating officer of the City of Smile Foundation Ester Demirchyan.
Rep. Adam Schiff, Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian and Glendale City Councilmember Zareh Sinanyan were among the officials who attended the gala.