LOS ANGELES—A German cancer patient in desperate need of a stem cell transplant might not get a chance to survive because of Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh, announced the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry.
On January 10, the German National Bone Marrow Donor Registry identified a stem cell donor in Artsakh who can potentially save the life of the patient in Germany. Once the Artsakh resident was identified as a potential donor, the German Registry urgently contacted ABMDR in Yerevan and requested that a CT (blood) sample of the donor be flown to Germany, for confirmatory typing, before a life-saving transplant could be performed.
The entire process, however, has now come to a grinding halt due to Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin corridor, which links Artsakh to Armenia. “Our potential donor in Artsakh is ready and willing to give a blood sample and eventually donate her stem cells to help save the life of the patient in Germany,” said ABMDR Executive Director Dr. Sevak Avagyan. “The problem is, because of Azerbaijan’s now-five-week-old blockade of Artsakh, we cannot physically reach our donor in order to obtain her blood sample, and neither will she be able to travel to the ABMDR Lab in Yerevan for her stem cell-harvesting procedure, if she’s confirmed and selected as the donor.”
“This is an absolutely tragic situation, one which illustrates how Azerbaijan’s blockade is impacting our global humanitarian work,” said ABMDR President Dr. Frieda Jordan and continued, “Here we are, with all the means to help save the life of a patient in Germany, yet we’re being callously prevented from doing our job. I cannot overstress the fact that as the patient in Germany struggles to stay alive, desperately waiting for a transplant, every minute counts!”
Dr. Jordan added that ABMDR has turned to the International Red Cross for facilitating the transfer of the Artsakh donor’s CT sample to Germany.
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 33,500 donors in 44 countries across four continents, identified over 9,000 patients, and facilitated 39 bone marrow transplants. For more information, call (323) 663-3609 or visit the ABMDR website.