Registry set to facilitate 17th stem cell transplant
LOS ANGELES—For the first time in its 15-year history, the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) held a donor recruitment at Tehran’s famed Ararat Armenian Sports Complex, on September 20. The recruitment drive took place in a jubilant community atmosphere, during the concluding day of Iran’s 45th Pan-Armenian Games, held between September 10 and 20.
More than 300 individuals joined the ranks of ABMDR as potential bone marrow stem cell donors, making the campaign the most successful yet in Iran. The new recruits included Armenia’s ambassador to Iran, Grigor Arakelyan; members of the Ararat Armenian Athletic Organization Board; organizers of the 45th Pan-Armenian Games; athletes; and spectators.
The recruitment drive was organized by Tehran’s Avedissian National Clinic. The event was made possible by ABMDR coordinator and Avedissian National Clinic director Mariet Toumians, and facilitated by ABMDR volunteer Karin Ayvazian, who was the liaison between the clinic and the Ararat Cultural Organization.
“On the last day of the Pan-Armenian Games, as hundreds of athletes participated in the final competitions and thousands of spectators cheered them on, the community spirit which took hold throughout the Ararat Sports Complex was simply phenomenal,” Toumians said. “For those of us associated with ABMDR, the festivities were all the more moving as our volunteers ended up registering 303 potential bone marrow donors between the ages of 18 and 50.”
The Tehran recruitment was complemented by two smaller recruitment campaigns in Dilijan and Gyumri, Armenia, on September 21 and 23, respectively. The Dilijan campaign resulted in 50 new recruits, and the Gyumri drive registered 25 new donors.
ABMDR reached yet another milestone on September 24, when it announced that it was set to facilitate its 17th stem cell transplant, in Germany. For the procedure, ABMDR harvested stem cells from a matched donor at the registry’s Stem Cell Harvesting Center, in Yerevan. Subsequently, the collected stem cells were transported by courier to Germany, where the ABMDR patient is undergoing treatment.
Dr. Frieda Jordan, president of ABMDR, stated, “I can’t say enough about the selfless dedication of our colleagues and volunteers in Iran, as well as the wonderful humanitarian spirit of the Armenian-Iranian community. Today such altruism is poised once again to bear palpable results, as all of us, the entire ABMDR family across the globe, are rooting for our latest patient who will receive a life-saving stem cell transplant.”
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 24,000 donors in 18 countries across four continents, identified 2,135 patients, and facilitated 16 bone marrow transplants.