FROM COAST TO COAST ARMENIAN BONE MARROW DONOR REGISTRY STEPS UP ITS AWARENESS CAMPAIGN TO INSPIRE SUPPORT

LOS ANGELES – From coast to coast, Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry Executive Director Sevak Avagnyan, President Frieda Jordan and other ABMDR staff and directors will be touring the United States this Fall in order to improve and promote the organization’s efforts to help patients suffering from leukemia and other blood related diseases.

With headquarters in Los Angeles and laboratory facilities in Yerevan, Armenia, the ABMDR is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure that every ethnic Armenian struck with a life-threatening blood-related illness is able to find hope for long-term survival through the identification of a genetically suitable bone marrow match.

Since December 2000, through cross-national cooperation, the ABMDR has recruited over 10,000 donors, received and processed over 400 search requests, identified 300 potential matches, and facilitated six bone marrow and stem cell transplants in Armenia, the United States, and Europe. Five of the transplantations occurred in the last year. To-date, all five patients – who suffer from acute leukemias or multiple myeloma – are doing well. Dr. Jordan, acknowledging the recent successes, notes, “We feel extremely blessed to be making the progress we are with transplantations, and we must continue to make people aware of the Registry to ensure that our momentum continues.”

First on the Fall Awareness Campaign agenda is a reception on October 21st at the Armenian Embassy in Washington, D.C., where Dr. Avagnyan and Dr. Jordan, joined by ABMDR board chair Mark Geragos and member Michele Seyranian, will make a presentation about the organization at the invitation of the Armenian Ambassador. The reception follows the American Society of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Conference, where Dr. Jordan and ABMDR laboratory supervisor Armoneh Husyan will learn the latest developments in the field of iimmunogenetics and transplantation.

During the week of Oct. 22nd, ABMDR West Coast Recruitment Officer Fimi Mekhitarian will coordinate a recruitment drive at St. John Apostolic Armenian Church in San Francisco.

In early November, the President and Executive Director will attend the World Marrow Donor Worldwide meeting and National Marrow Donor Program Council Meeting in Minneapolis; recruitment staff will attend the NMDP recruitment workshops.

The last stop on the itinerary is a presentation on November 6th at the First Armenian Church of Belmont in the Boston area, where ABMDR East Coast Donor Recruitment Officer Marilyn Bazarian has already organized many recruitment drives at churches and community centers. Massachusetts State Representative (and ABMDR donor registrant) Rachel Kaprielian and ABMDR board member Michele Seyranian and her daughter, Alique Topalian, a blood cancer survivor, will join Drs. Jordan and Avagnyan at the Belmont event.

The Fall Awareness Campaign follows a September picnic hosted by Board Chair Mark Geragos and his wife Paulette at their home in La Canada, California, where over [how many?] ABMDR staff, directors, key volunteers and supporters celebrated their successes to date and gained greater inspiration to fulfill the ABMDR’s goals in the months ahead. [Do you want to mention $$ raised, or not, since we’re emphasizing awareness here?]

Those who wish to learn more about the Registry and/or attend one of the presentations scheduled may contact ABMDR President Dr. Frieda Jordan at 3111 Los Feliz Blvd., Suite 206, Los Angeles, CA; by calling (323) 663-3609; or e-mailing abmdria@sbcglobal.net or Frieda.Jordan@att.net . The website for the Registry is www.abmdr.am.