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Bone Marrow Donors

Armenian patients as well as individuals from other small ethnic groups, have a particularly difficult time locating suitable donors given our unique genetic (HLA) profile. The National Marrow Donor Program (U.S.) has over 5.5 million potential volunteer marrow and blood cell donors but few of them are of Armenian ancestry. Hence many Armenian patients do not find a matching donor. In addition, statistics indicate that only 30% of all patients find a suitable marrow donor within their own families. Accordingly, the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) was established in 1999 to address the unique needs of our Armenian community worldwide. The ABMDR is an independent, non-governmental , not-for-profit organization that currently has 10,100 registered donors and 575 Armenian patients who are waiting for a match. For these waiting patients the search for a matching donor is a race against time.

AAHPO member, Debra Ferman, M.D., says, “The need for a large donor network is crucial if Armenians are to survive blood related diseases like leukemia and lymphoma.” AAHPO member Terenig Terjanian, M.D., comments “The more Armenians who sign up for the blood screening, the greater the chance that our Armenian community members will receive a lifesaving match.” “The gift of life that a donor gives is simply amazing and so precious,” adds AAHPO President, Lawrence V. Najarian, M.D.

Signing up for the screening is the first step to becoming a donor. A small blood sample is taken at the screening and it is then sent for HLA tissue typing analysis. The results are then entered into a data registry where a computer searches for a compatible, recipient/donor match. If there is a compatible match the donor stem cells are obtained by either a blood filtering technique called apheresis or by bone marrow aspiration from the hip area. Sometimes umbilical cord stem cells are used also. The donor stem cells are then transplanted to the recipient where they grow and multiply, replacing the cancerous cells and bringing new life to the recipient.


1. ONLINE at www.marrow.org. Click first on "Join the Registry" and then on "Join Now." Complete the online form to order your registration kit, which will be sent to you by mail. Follow the instructions in the kit to collect a sample of cheek cells, and then return the kit in the addressed envelope that is provided for you.

2. IN PERSON at a Recruitment Center. Go to www.marrow.org to find a recruitment center near you.

3. IN PERSON at a BE THE MATCH drive near you. Go to www.marrow.org to find a date and location.

The following recruitment center exists in Bergen County, New Jersey:

The HLA Registry
A Division of Community Blood Services
800 Kinderkamack Road, Suite 300
Oradell, New Jersey 07649
(201) 705-1604

Ideal donors are between 18-60 years of age and are in good general health. Women who are pregnant or who have children less than 12 months old are not able to donate. As with blood donations, donors with hepatitis and other infectious diseases are not eligible. A health questionnaire and a consent form are filled out at the time of the screening. If you are a match, you will be asked to donate peripheral blood (from your arm), just as you would if you were to give blood. The recipient of a match, NOT the donor, incurs all costs.


Additional Information

The National Marrow Donor Program Website

National Marrow Donor Program Facts & Figures

Hispanics Helping Each Other Brochure

African Americans Donor Information Brochure

Bone Marrow Drive Information Brochure

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Website

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Brochure




LLS Service & Support Brochure


Debbi Margosian Chapman

Debbi Margosian Chapman, who has been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, desperately needs a stem cell transplant.

To read more about Debbi, click here.



Irene Hamptian (Katrandjian)

is in desparate need of a bone marrow transplant. Her parents are Hampy and Grace Hamptian, who are long time parishinors of Sts Vartanantz. Below is a letter from her daughter Olivia:

Dear Friends,

As some of you know, my mom is suffering from Non-Hodgkin's Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma, an aggressive and unpredictable form of blood cancer. She has endured over six months of in-patient chemotherapy and a debilitating bone marrow transplant, but somehow the disease has persisted.

At this point, her only chance for a cure is an allogeneic stem cell transplant. In order to perform this procedure, the doctors need a blood donor who is a genetic match, but currently, there are no registered donors who qualify.

Anyone can be that match, and that is why I am writing to you today. Joining the "Be The Match" registry is simple and requires only a cotton swab to collect some cheek cells from the inside of your mouth. If you are a match, your participation could mean the gift of life to someone - like my mother - who is desperately in need of your help.


Olivia Katrandjian

Charlotte Conybear, Age 4
Charlotte Conybear

is suffering from Aplastic Anemia.
Click here to read her story.

Help Jennifer Austin!!
Click here to read her story.

Help Savannah Rose!!
Click here to read her story.