tomorrow as Man of the Year at its Fourth Annual Match For Life Gala.
"One time a 17-year-old young man came in to donate, and his mother
stopped him and said his blood wasn't for sale."
The registry will hold the Match For Life Gala at 6 p.m. tonight
at the Glendale Hilton, 100 W. Glenoaks Blvd.
The event will include a short video in which patients talk about
their experiences and speeches from two children of local patients.
In addition to Zakarian, honorees will include Aida
Shirinian-Kaloostian, a physician, as Woman of the Year; Angel
Matesovian, a nurse, as Volunteer of the Year; and Next Day Color
Inc. in Glendale as business of the year.
The Glendale-based Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry was started
by physician Frieda Jordan in December 1999 to help people within the
Armenian community in need of bone marrow transplants to find
According to the registry, the chance that a patient will find a
suitable donor is about one in 20,000.
This figure shrinks further when the smaller size of the Armenian
community is taken into account, as ethnic Armenians rarely find
matches from non-Armenian donors.
"Ethnicity does play a role in helping to get donors, because it
can help to convince people to join with other members of their
community," said Fimi Mekhitarian, the registry's recruitment officer
for the West Coast. "It isn't just limited to the Glendale area.
Wherever we find matches, we pick out the best ones we can."
This is possible because the registry has gained membership in the
Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide group, which provides international
connections to identify patients and find matches.
As a result, the registry has been able to coordinate and
facilitate five successful bone marrow transplants for patients not
only in the United States, but also in Armenia, Poland, Italy and
"You never understand how bad something is until you have those
problems yourself," said Zakarian, a longtime Glendale resident and
recent retiree who advises the registry. "Whether only 10,000 people
or a million people need to be helped, the bottom line is that there