To celebrate 25 years of service in Armenia, the Armenian EyeCare Project will host its biggest and best ever event — its 25th Anniversary Gala — at the beautiful Balboa Bay Club Resort in Newport Beach, California on Saturday November 18 at 6:30 p.m.
The special 25th Anniversary Gala will celebrate a quarter of a century’s accomplishments for the EyeCare Project, honor those who have helped the organization bring sight to Armenian eyes and pay special tribute to the Project’s founder, Dr. Roger Ohanesian.
The evening will begin with a cocktail reception as guests enjoy live piano music; roving entertainers including a psychic, juggler and a magician; and sumptuous hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. As they greet new and old friends, guests will also be able to bid in a Silent Auction, which will include wonderful items like a romantic weekend at the Balboa Bay Club Resort, hotel stays in Las Vegas, dining certificates to some of the best restaurants in southern California, a one-of-a-kind Armenian rug from Tufenkian Carpets, fine jewelry, wine, art and much more.
As the ballroom doors open, guests will be transported to Armenia with breathtaking scenes of the country. A five-course Armenian-inspired dinner will be served amid dazzling décor and twinkling lights and guests will enjoy the traditional Armenian music of Tom Bozigian and his Band as well as some magnificent Armenian dancing by Artur Aleksanyan and his Dance Troupe.
Many surprise guests will attend to express their appreciation to Dr. Ohanesian for all he has done for the people of Armenia and the Project will premiere a short film chronicling the achievements of the EyeCare Project and its founder, produced by Lonnie Duka.
Dr. Ohanesian walked on Armenian soil for the first time in 1992 — 25 years ago. He had no idea what awaited him — only that he had received a call for help from Armenia’s Minister of Health, “Help us fight the growing wave of blindness.” Years of tragedy — war and a devastating earthquake — had taken a toll on the dark eyes of Armenia.
The Laguna Beach ophthalmologist worked tirelessly when he arrived in Armenia, seeing as many as 120 patients a day. Nearly all were war casualties and half were children. With just one hour of electricity and running water a day, he described the conditions as “archaic” and recognized the country was in desperate need of help. Shortly after, he founded the Armenian EyeCare Project.
Dr. Ohanesian has returned every year since, recruiting hundreds of other eye care specialists to join him, to pursue his vision for Armenia — a country where no individual is without access to quality eye care; where Armenian ophthalmologists are trained to diagnose and treat eye disease at the highest level; and where preventable causes of blindness are eliminated through an emphasis on prevention and early intervention.
Following those first steps on Armenian soil, reducing preventable blindness in Armenia and making quality eye care accessible to everyone in the country has become Roger’s life work as he continues to change the landscape of eye care in Armenia.
To date, the AECP has provided eye examinations and treatment for nearly 500,000 patients in Armenia; performed over 20,000 sight-saving surgeries; and provided more than 70,000 pairs of prescription eyeglasses at no cost to children and adults in need. The organization has also developed several medical education and training programs in the country to provide Armenia’s physicians with advanced skills in ophthalmology enabling them to provide their patients with quality, up-to-date medical care.
The EyeCare Project invites its friends and donors along with the community to pay tribute to Dr. Ohanesian for his 25 years of dedicated service to the Armenian people by attending this year’s extra-special 25th Anniversary Gala.
Proceeds from the event will help to fund the organization’s programs in Armenia, which include five Regional Eye Clinics, a Mobile Eye Hospital, a Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Childhood Blindness, Subspecialty Clinics and a number of medical education and training programs.