Meet our 2015 Volunteers of the Year! Carlo Manjikian, Narreh Ghazarians, and Stella Baghdasarian, DDS, HHC, have devoted countless hours of service to ABMDR, our efforts, initiatives and causes. We would like to thank you all for your dedication and commitment. Please read a bit about our Volunteers of the Year below. They will be awarded at the Match for Life 16th Annual Gala on Sunday, August 23, 2015 at the Glendale Hilton.
Carlo Manjikian was born in Beirut, Lebanon and moved to the United States at the age of 6. He grew up in New Jersey and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Montclair State University, majoring in business administration and management. He moved to California in 2000, where he continued his studies, earning an MBA from Pepperdine University, and launched a successful career as an investment manager. Currently he works as a Senior Investment Officer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s pension fund, managing approximately $12 billion in assets.
“I have been involved with ABMDR for about five years, and served on the Walkathon and Comedy Night committees,” Carlo says. “I got involved because I believe in the mission of ABMDR. I am living proof that bone marrow transplants work and save lives.
“Over six years ago, at the age of 34, I was diagnosed with leukemia. After going through extensive chemotherapy, my doctors told me I needed a bone marrow transplant. Dr. Frieda Jordan visited me at the hospital to offer ABMDR’s services to find a match for me. Luckily my sister Lara was a perfect match. I received a bone marrow transplant just a few months after being diagnosed. I was one of the few lucky ones to find a match within my family. Most patients have to rely on organizations like ABMDR to find a match and be given a second chance at life.
“Soon after I got back on my feet, I felt the need to give as much as I could to organizations like ABMDR, to get the word out on their purpose, increase awareness, and, most importantly, increase the number of potential donors in the registry to provide a second chance at life for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant. ABMDR has been very rewarding for me in many ways, including meeting the love of my life, my wife Melina, during an ABMDR function. In 2004, the joy of my life, my son Evan, was born.”
Narreh Ghazarians was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up in the greater Boston area. After graduating from St. Stephens Armenian Elementary School, she stayed connected with the Armenian community through various cultural activities, including being a member of the Sayat Nova Dance Company of Boston for over 14 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Clark University and her Clinical Research certification from Boston College.
Fascinated with the medical-research world, Narreh began her career working at Parexel, managing medical imaging for global oncology trials. She later worked at Blue Chip as a regional site manager for clinical research sites. In 2013, Narreh moved to New York City to work as a project manager at TransPerfect, an e-clinical solutions provider for several large pharmaceutical companies. In 2015, she relocated to Hong Kong with her fiancé to work as a Program Manager at TransPerfect, helping develop the company’s Asia Pacific department of clinical solutions.
Narreh volunteers for several nonprofit organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the AMARAS Art Alliance, and the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, for which she worked as East Coast Recruitment Officer between 2006 and 2013.
Stella Baghdasarian, DDS, HHC, was born in Tehran and moved to Los Angeles in 1979. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from California State University, Northridge. Her love of being a healthcare professional and desire to follow in her dad’s footsteps led her to attend the USC Ostrow School of Dentistry, from which she obtained her Doctor in Dental Surgery degree.
After practicing dentistry for over 20 years, she furthered her education in nutrition and health counseling by attending the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
Dr Baghdasarian’s life is filled with professional and civic commitments. She believes that the only way to have a fulfilled life is to give back to not only your community but the causes that are near and dear to your heart. She has been an active member of the Homenetmen Ararat Chapter and has served in its Fundraising Committee for several years. She has also served as president of the Armenian Dental Society for two years and worked for the Mobile Clinic project in rural communities of Armenia.
Dr. Baghdasarian joined ABMDR six years ago, after losing her beloved aunt to Leukemia. She believes that raising community awareness is key to ensuring the success of ABMDR’s life-saving mission. She has been active in ABMDR’s community outreach program and chaired the Walkathon Committee. Currently she is an active member of the Gala Committee.
Dr. Baghdasarian has been married to his wonderful and caring husband, Harmik, for the past 27 years and is blessed with two wonderful children, Daniel and Sevana, who graduated from UCLA this year.