In Armenia and Diaspora, a Call for Help

By LiminalMike/Creative Commons

In Los Angeles, 26-year-old Steve Bodozian was diagnosed with acute leukemia and now needs a bone marrow donor match to save his life – a  fairly daunting task considering his Armenian ancestry, since due to unique genetic makeup, Armenians are matched with great difficulty. Seven thousand miles away in Yerevan, a mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer, in need of Herceptin, a drug that will cost a total of $54,000 – an amount more than the average person makes in one year.

One needs a medical match and the other monetary, but both are asking for assistance to improve their health and their lives.

The Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry has been actively campaigning and recruiting on behalf of Bodozian. On Thursday, March 31, the organization is holding a bone marrow drive at Glendale Memorial Hospital.  “If you are a health individual between the ages of 18 and 50, please come get tested,” their Facebook page says. “You might be the one to save Steve or any  one of the many Armenians who are waiting for a match.”

Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, Steve Bodozian is in desperate need of a bone marrow match

ABMDR has recruited around 15,000 people in their database to date and even established a Stem Cell Harvest Center in Yerevan in 2007, becoming the first laboratory of its kind in the former Soviet republics to receive accreditation from the European Federation of Immunogenetics. The organization also operates recruitment centers in Boston, Iran, Lebanon and Syria. Unfortunately no match for Bodozian has surfaced among the 15,000 possible donors, which is why ABDR is urgently holding recruitment drives to find one.

In Armenia, Syu Sepetchyan sent appeals to organizations and governments in order to cover the cost of the medication needed to help her mother recover from breast cancer. Her search turned up fruitless.

“In other countries, mothers have the right to free treatment with this drug, under the supportive health care programs of their governments, but my mother has to be satisfied with treatment by outdated drugs that are no longer in use anywhere in the world,” she has written in the group description of Մայրիկ/Mother/Мама, a Facebook page established to raise funds for her mother.

“My personal savings will not be enough to cover the costs of this drug. So I have to place my hope in your hands. By combining forces with my friends, a fund has been opened where every penny will be used to help save my mother’s life.”

Syu Sepetchyan's mother needs herceptin, a drug used to treat breast cancer that will cost over $50,000 for treatment

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in Armenia, followed by cervical cancer, reported A1+. Recently, Khachanush Hakobyan, the head of the Armenian-American Health Center, a humanitarian project of the Armenian American Cultural Association urged women to undergo annual mammography screenings, adding that many women don’t believe that they can have breast cancer.

To register as a bone marrow donor in the Los Angeles area, which requires you to rub a few swabs on the inside of your cheek attend ABMDR’s recruitment drive at the address below:

  • March 31st, 5-8 P.M.
    Glendale Memorial Hospital Auditorium
    1420 S. Central Ave., Glendale, CA 91204

To help Syu Sepetchyan get her mother the medicine she needs to treat breast cancer, join the cause’s Facebook page and donate via the following:

  • For Transfers in US dollars (Mayrik Fund)

Intermediary Bank : CITIBANK,N.A

New York, USA

Swift: CITIUS33

Beneficiary`s bank: ACCOUNT 36017277

Armenian Development Bank

Yerevan, Armenia




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