GLENDALE–Dalida and Mike Keuroghlian hosted the first community fund raising event on August 4 at their beautifully arranged house–where 100 distinguished guests and supporters of the Armenian Bone Marrow Project participated in the event.
Among the distinguished guests were Glendale City Councilman Rafi Manoukian–Glendale’s Planning Director–McKenna Lawyer and former State Assembly Majority Leader Walter Karabian and many representatives of different organizations.
With the generous help of the Keuroghelian family–the event raised $15,000 fir the project. Dalida is a true believer in the cause and from day one–she very quickly grasped the need for the Armenia’s to have a Registry established in Armenia as a source of hope for all Armenia’s throughout the world should the need arises for a donor match.
Dr. Frieda Jordan–founder of the project–and chairperson of the Trust–indicated that Armenian patients need their own registry because Armenia’s have a unique genetic make up with regard of their transplantation antigens and therefore it is very difficult to find a compatible match among other existing bone marrow registries.
"If we don’t help ourselves–no body else is able to," said Dr. Jordan. Having an established donor registry–would be the last chance of survival for Armenian patients suffering from Leukemia.
Since its establishment in 1999–the Trust members have made:
a. Several public appearances; held TV and radio interviews both in the diaspora and in Armenia. Last year they participated in the "Pan Armenian Conference" in Yerevan–and presented the project–which generated a lot of interest in the media and public. b. Established links with different clinical and medical facilities in the US.
c. Established contacts with sister bone marrow transplant registries as well as international accreditation organizations for future collaboration and registration.
d. The Trust headed by the honorary chairperson The First Lady of Armenia Dr. Bella Kocharian–has completed the task of setting up medical–scientific as well as financial advisory boards.
In Armenia–the Trust members have recently met with President Robert Kocharian–His Holiness Karekin II–Catholicos of all Armenia’s; representatives of foreign embassies–different pharmaceutical companies as well as the American Red Cross and others. "Without exception–the support and enthusiasm have been overwhelming" said Sona Armenian–a Trustee member.
Michele Lemmon–wife of US Ambassador in Armenia–has been extremely helpful with her recommendations and referrals. The trust has letters of support/endorsemen’s form the Chairman of Social–Health and Environmental issues–Kakig Tadevossian and Minister of Health–Dr. Ararat Mkrdichian.
The Trust is planning to open its laboratory in Armenia by the end of December.
The laboratory will be equipped with the latest DNA fingerprinting technology. The main function of the laboratory would be to type Armenian donors and to create a computer data bank with all donor/patient information.
This registry is a "Security Bank" for future generations–children as well as adults who may need a bone marrow transplant. Negotiations are underway to open satellite laboratories initially in California and Lebanon so that Armenia’s living in the diaspora would also be able to participate in this unique life saving operation.
The Trust is reviewing an invitation from American University of Beirut for opening its satellite laboratory in its medical school.
"Without community help it would be very difficult to start our operation," said Sona Armenian. Although our communities have been very generous in their contributions for starting the bone marrow project–the trust urgently needs $200,000. An appeal to all Armenia’s was made for their generous donations to help provide "A Gift Of Life."
Tax deductible contributions may be sent to: Armenian Bone Marrow Project 347 W. Stocker St. #208 Glendale–CA 91202.