ABMDR delegates participate in major international health conferences
LOS ANGELES—In the past two months, the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) further expanded its ranks as it welcomed the Australia and United Kingdom Armenian communities into its worldwide family of registered donors and supporters.
At events held in Sydney and London, ABMDR leaders familiarized local Armenian communities with the work of the registry, motivating scores of community members, particularly the youth, to register as potential bone marrow donors.
Also during their visits to Australia and England, ABMDR delegates participated in two major international health conferences and a workshop, during which the latest advancements in immunogenetics research and treatment were discussed, and new connections were established with delegates of various country registries.
Australian-Armenians mobilize around ABMDR cause
On the evening of May 3, ABMDR president Dr. Frieda Jordan and executive director Dr. Sevak Avagyan spoke at a community gathering in Sydney dedicated to the mission of the registry. The event, which drew an audience of over 200, took place at the Edgarian Hall of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Holy Resurrection.
Held under the auspices of Archbishop Aghan Baliozian, Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Australia and New Zealand, and supported by all local Armenian organizations, including the ARS Regional Committee of Australia, the Church Council, the AGBU, and the three Armenian political parties, the event was coordinated by Panos Manjian, a member of Sydney’s Armenian community and a longtime friend of ABMDR.
Following Panos Manjian’s welcome remarks, Dr. Jordan and Dr. Avagyan took turns to familiarize the audience with the life-saving mission of the registry. “Being a pan-Armenian organization, ABMDR has long sought the involvement of the Australian-Armenian community in its cause,” Dr. Jordan stated in her address. “Tonight, with the active participation of your community, we are overjoyed to welcome Australia as the 15th country in the roster of countries where ABMDR carries out its work.”
The presentations of Dr. Jordan and Dr. Avagyan included the screening of a documentary on the global mission and accomplishments of ABMDR. The presentations were followed by a Q & A session. Afterwards community members, including numerous young people and Father Avetis Hambardzumyan, pastor of the church, joined the ranks of the registry as potential bone marrow donors.
The Australian-Armenian community’s support of ABMDR also included a donation to the registry by the Armenian College and Davidian Girls School Ex Students Union, in the amount of $5,352.
Dr. Jordan thanked all community institutions for their active support, and expressed her special gratitude to Panos Manjian, who had also organized a press conference preceding the May 3 gathering and featuring the ABMDR representatives. Held with the participation of all local Armenian news publications and radio programs, the press conference resulted in substantial media coverage of ABMDR’s recruitment efforts in Sydney.
British-Armenian community embraces ABMDR cause
On June 2, the Armenian Medical Association of Great Britain (AMA-GB) held a forum featuring Dr. Frieda Jordan and Dr. Sevak Avagyan. The event, which took place at the Navasartian Centre Hall in London, was organized on the occasion of the 16th International HLA and Immunogenetics Workshop and Joint Conference, in which the ABMDR delegates participated.
Following the opening remarks of Dr. Seda Boghosian, president of AMA-GB, Dr. Jordan and Dr. Avagyan took turns to speak about the accomplishments of ABMDR since its founding in 1999, as well as the registry’s ongoing goals and future projects, including the establishment of a transplantation center in Yerevan.
Subsequently the speakers and audience members had a lively discussion about various aspects of the registry’s work. As scores of attendees, including Karine Kazinian, Ambassador of Armenia to the United Kingdom, joined the ranks of ABMDR, the event marked the start of the British-Armenian community’s active participation in the work of the registry, making the United Kingdom the 16th country on the list of countries where the registry carries out its work. In order to help expand ABMDR’s operational presence in the United Kingdom, Dr. Boghosian volunteered to lead future recruitment efforts in London and beyond.
“Today I join the British-Armenian community to commend the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry for its pan-Armenian mission of saving lives,” Ambassador Kazinian said.
Participation in global health conferences
While in Sydney, the ABMDR delegation participated in the World Marrow Donor Association’s Ninth International Donor Registry Conference, from May 1 to May 5.
The conference, attended by established as well as emerging country registries such as those of Russia and China, was dedicated to the discussion of the latest research and developments in bone marrow stem cell transplantation, and provided an opportunity for the exchange of ideas between professionals in the field.
ABMDR has been a full member of the World Marrow Donor Association for the past 12 years. At the conference in Sydney, Dr. Jordan and Dr. Avagyan exchanged insights and compared professional experiences with representatives of various registries. Noted at the conference was the fact that ABMDR is among registries which have a large proportion of young male bone marrow donors, considered a critical factor in donor selection. Dr. Jordan said that ABMDR’s wide ratio of young male donors has been achieved through persistent recruitment efforts, particularly at military bases and universities across Armenia.
A delegation of ABMDR, comprising Dr. Jordan, Dr. Avagyan, and ABMDR Laboratory supervisor Armine Huyssyan, also participated in the 16th International HLA and Immunogenetics Workshop and Joint Conference, held in Liverpool. Organized jointly by the European Federation of Immunogenetics (EFI) and the British Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics, the conference took place from May 28 to June 3.
The conference and workshop were dedicated to discussions of the latest findings in the field of immunogenetics, as well as all vital factors for the survival of bone marrow and solid organ transplants.
Participating in the HLA and Immunogenetics Workshop were all EFI laboratory inspectors, including Dr. Jordan. Representing the Republic of Armenia, Dr. Jordan is the first EFI inspector appointed to represent a country in the Caucasus region.
In addition to advancing professional growth and expanding participants’ knowledge base, the conference and workshop gave attendees, including the ABMDR delegation, the opportunity to reconnect and exchange ideas with old colleagues and meet new ones.
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.
For more information, call (323) 663-3609 or visit abmdr.am.