In 1999, it came to the attention of medical professionals in the United States and Armenia, that children in Armenia, who could benefit from cochlear implant surgery, were not being treated and depriving them of the gift of hearing, and the opportunity to lead happy, successful lives.
The burden of having a child or young adult with Stage IV deafness/profound hearing loss can cause hardship for the entire family and their community. In 2003, The Armenian International Medical Fund (AIM Fund) was founded to give the gift of hearing to as many Armenian children and youth as possible through cochlear implant surgeries.
Many of these youngsters have a family history of profound hearing loss, and some have a history of meningitis, or ototoxicity to certain antibiotics. The AIM Fund also facilitated an implant for a soldier who lost his hearing while serving the homeland, and a four-year-old child living close to the border. Half of the recipients are from Yerevan and others are from the remaining regions. AIM has also implanted children from as far away as Artsakh and Kapan.
Despite several challenges in 2019, AIM Fund has exceeded the goal by operating on a record number of patients (15) during its two medical missions. This brought the total to 130 cochlear implants and Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (BAHA) being implanted. The organization said that there is a 100 percent success rate in the operation, making possible for recipients to hear and speak. The ideal age to be implanted is 1-3 years of age.
For its 20th Medical mission in July of 2020, AIM Fund has more than 15 children and young adults on the surgical list for a cochlear implant or BAHA. The organization is making every effort to raise sufficient funds to operate on all of the children and young adults on the list.
AIM Fund expressed gratitude to people like Dr. Artin Massihi, who held an amazing fundraising event on February 23 at his residence. The guests caught the spirit of volunteerism and the passion to see that every child receives an implant. As Dr. Salpy Akaragian, Founder and President stated, “I am privileged to work with such professional and caring members, the chain of kindness keeps on growing each year.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, AIM Fund’s dinner for March 22nd was postponed until the Fall. In the interest of the children waiting for a cochlear implant, the medical mission will take place in July 2020 and any contributions will be greatly appreciated.
AIM Fund is grateful to everyone who has supported us over the years, including: the government of Armenia, Ministry of Health, and Erebouni Medical Center (Dr. H. Kushkyan). We would like to give special recognition to Dr. Akira Ishiyama (UCLA Otologist Surgeon) and Dr. Shukuryan and his team in Armenia.