(BURBANK, CA). While many Southern Californians were relaxing at home Sunday evening, a group of dedicated volunteers was busy answering phone calls from across the globe. During the Armenian Bone Marrow Registry’s first telethon, thousands of people from USA, Canada and Middle East pledged more than $300,000 toward a campaign to establish a Stem Cell Harvesting Center in Yerevan, Republic of Armenia.
“This outpouring of support is phenomenal,” exclaimed Registry President Dr. Frieda Jordan. “Not only has it exceeded our expectations as far as monetary goals, it has set a precedent in rallying the entire community – regardless of race, region, or political affiliation – behind a cause that will save lives throughout the world for many years to come.” The telethon is part of the Registry’s “Be An Angel, Save A Life” Campaign to raise a total of $850,000 to fully fund the Center which, when established, will bring the life-saving procedure of stem cell transplantation within the reach of many more patients with leukemia and other life-threatening blood diseases, and will play a vital role in the treatment of other diseases such as cancers, diabetes, and heart ailments. The Center will be the only one of its kind in the Caucasian region.
The telethon, which was broadcasted on Horizon, High Vision, ATV, ISN and LA View television channels and webcasted on the Registry’s website, was directed by Emmy Award-winning Director Mark Mardoyan and hosted by Dr. Evelyn Baghdasarian, Paul Chaderjian, Arayik Ghazarian, and Manoug Seyradariyan. Notable among the “Angels” who responded to the appeal were the Kazarians Family, who made a donation in memory of Mariana Kazarians, a founding board member of the Registry; the Owens and Devorris Families; the Titizian Family, in memory of Arlene Titizian; the Atikian Family; and Mr. and Mrs. Stepan and Linda Vartanian. Several businesses and organizations made significant contributions, including the American Development and Investment, Inc.; the Armenian Relief Society’s Family of 12 chapters; St Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church of Glendale; Holy Martyr’s ARS Ashkhen Pilavjian Pre-school; Lakeside Medical Group, through former Assemblymember Keith Richman; Executive Council of the Prelacy of the Armenian Church of Northern Iran; and Glendale Memorial Hospital, a long-time supporter of the Registry.
Many of these major contributors to the project will be recognized by having a room at the Center named after them. Additionally, 400 donors who pledged $250 each will be honored on the “Wall of Angels.” The overall success of the telethon would not have been possible without the thousands of donors from around the world who pledged donations below $500. Registry Executive Director Dr. Sevak Avagyan, who made a special visit from Yerevan for the event, emphasized this stating, “Every dollar contributed is a step closer to saving a life in the future; we are grateful to each and every Angel tonight.”
The success of the telethon moves the organization within $350,000 of reaching its goal to establish the Center. Initial funds for the project totaling just over $200,000 were donated by the Lincy Foundation, private individuals, and Registry Board member Carolann Najarian. The Registry hopes to raise the remaining funds in the next five months. A key part of completing the campaign is the Third Annual Walk-A-Thon on Saturday, June 21 at Griffith Park in Los Angeles.
“We are extremely grateful to all who have pledged their support; days after the telethon we continue to receive donations through phone calls to our offices, on our website, and even personal visits,” Dr. Jordan noted. “But we still have a big challenge ahead of us. We are hopeful that there are many more Angels out there who will see the opportunity to make a significant difference – to help save lives.”
Those who wish to “Be an Angel, Save a Life” by supporting the Stem Cell Harvesting Center may contact President Dr. Frieda Jordan at 3111 Los Feliz Blvd., Suite 206, Los Angeles, CA; by calling (323) 663-3609; or going on the Registry website,www.abmdr.am .