Close to 750 college students in Artsakh recruited as potential bone marrow donors

Los Angeles, October 5, 2012 – The Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) completed its most significant Artsakh recruitment drive yet, registering close to 750 university and college students as potential bone marrow stem cell donors. Also recruited were several high-ranking officials and faculty members.

The recruitment campaign, coordinated with Artsakh’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education and Science, comprised three separate drives in Stepanakert during September 27 and 28. The events were held at the campuses of the Mesrop Mashtots University, the Tamara Kamalyan Stepanakert State Medical College, and the Stepanakert Agricultural College.

The campaign was the fifth of its kind to be conducted in Artsakh since the founding of ABMDR in 1999, encompassing the complementary goals of outreach, education, and recruitment. The team of ABMDR leaders and volunteers that traveled to Stepanakert for this purpose included Dr. Frieda Jordan, president; Dr. Sevak Avagyan, executive director; and Dr. Mihran Nazaretyan, medical director.

“Throughout our drive, what we witnessed again and again among the youth of Stepanakert was an extraordinary spirit of selflessness and compassion,” Dr. Jordan recalled. “These wonderful young men and women were eager to learn about our cause, asked intelligent questions, and felt proud to register as potential stem cell donors, in anticipation of helping save someone’s life. It was all truly awe-inspiring.”

On September 27, the first recruitment was held at the Mesrop Mashtots University, with hundreds of students as well as faculty and elected officials in attendance. In his opening remarks, Dr. Mihran Nazaretyan thanked the university, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Education and Science for their instrumental role in organizing the event.

Dr. Nazaretyan went on to describe the mission of ABMDR, presented an informative DVD, and took questions from audience members. During the recruitment that followed, 440 students, as well as Education and Science minister Slavik Asryan and Artsakh State University rector Stephan Dadayan, registered as potential stem cell donors.

The high level of enthusiasm among students and faculty was evident throughout the next day, when recruitment drives were held at the Tamara Kamalyan Stepanakert State Medical College and the Stepanakert Agricultural College. The events at these smaller campuses resulted in 300 additional ABMDR recruits, including Tamara Kamalyan Stepanakert State Medical College dean Karineh Kocharyan.

Volunteer recruiters at all three events included the family of a local patient who urgently needs a donor match for a life-saving stem cell transplantation. Many relatives of the patient traveled from their village to Stepanakert in order to give blood for testing at ABMDR’s Stem Cell Harvesting Center in Yerevan.

The recruitment campaign received full local television and press coverage, with the media praising ABMDR for its outreach efforts and encouraging grassroots support of its activities.

On September 28, Dr. Jordan and Dr. Avagyan, accompanied by Zoya Lazaryan, Artsakh’s minister of Health, were received by President Bako Sahakyan. The president congratulated the ABMDR leadership for advancing a life-saving mission that benefits Armenians and other ethnic groups across the world, and pledged his continued support of the registry’s work in Artsakh.

The ABMDR team also met with Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan, primate of the Artsakh Diocese. A longtime advocate of the ABMDR cause, Archbishop Martirosyan commended the registry for its accomplishments and once again gave it his blessings.

About the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry: Established in 1999, ABMDR, a nonprofit organization, helps 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 22,000 donors in 16 countries across four continents, identified 2,135 patients, and facilitated 13 bone marrow transplants.

President Bako Sahakyan with Health minister Zoya Lazaryan (left), Dr. Frieda Jordan, and Dr. Sevak Avagyan.

Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan flanked by Dr. Frieda Jordan and Dr. Sevak Avagyan.

Dr. Mihran Nazaretyan addressing the audience at the Tamara Kamalyan Stepanakert State Medical College as dean Karineh Kocharyan looks on.

A scene from the recruitment drive.

A scene from the recruitment drive.

press coverage