Cancer is the second leading cause of deaths in Armenia with mortality rates ranked as the highest in the world. The disparity of Armenia's survival rate of 30% is a stunning contrast with a survival rate of 75% in developed countries like the US. Notably, the
30% survival rate statistics are derived from the patients that can afford full diagnosis and treatment options. Children and adults who are diagnosed, but cannot afford the treatment plans, are much less fortunate and death is inevitable.
In 2019, under the auspices of the Meduni UMSI and the Armenian Embassy to the United States of America, the "City Of Smile" Armenian Charitable Foundation, supporting pediatric cancer treatment in the Republic of Armenia under the patronage of Ms. Anna Hakobyan, Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees and the spouse of the Prime Minister of Armenia, visited the United States in April, 2019. The US fundraising tour started in Washington, DC and was followed by stops in Boston, MA, Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, and Memphis ,TN where the foundation became the first international organization to partner with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital global initiative program.
Ms. Hakobyan's visit to Washington, DC was organized by Meduni UNSI, whose primary focus is battling pediatric and adult oncology in Armenia, along with broader improvements to the health system of the entire country. Ms. Hakobyan visited the Library of Congress and met with Congressional leaders of the Armenian Issues Caucus, including Congressmen Frank Pallone, Adam Schiff, and two Armenian-American Congresswomen Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier. The parties discussed the importance of new relationships between the two countries and saluted Ms. Hakobyan’s efforts in supporting such a meaningful cause.
Her visit was followed by a fundraising dinner gala held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott with over 280 guests in attendance, including the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Lisa Barsoomian Rosenstein, Philanthropist and Advocate of Armenian issues for over 40 years Mrs. Annie Simonian Totah, Ambassador of Armenia to the United States Varuzhan Nersesyan, Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Georgetown University Professor and the Keynote speaker Samir Khleif MD., PhD, the President of AGBU Armenia Vasken Yacoubian and Chief Pediatric Oncologist of Armenia Dr. Gevorg Tamamyan. The Master of Ceremony was Dr. Myron Allukian Jr, and the evening was accompanied by Levon Mikaelyan and his Trio featuring songs from the newly released album inspired by the peaceful revolution in Armenia.
“It was amazing to witness so many kindhearted people, communities and organizations coming forward to support such an incredible and important cause. This marks the beginning of a new wave of a union and collaboration between communities across the US and Armenia. It will serve as the cornerstone for many future projects that will improve healthcare in Armenia. The mission of Meduni UMSI is to provide more comprehensive and affordable care to children and adults battling cancer in Armenia” said Vaughn Martirosyan, the founder and Executive Director of Meduni UMSI in his interview with Voice of America.
“The main problems we face are due to the lack of proper medications and means to deliver treatment to these children. We aim to make this the beginning of the improvements we wish to see on a much bigger scale. We aim to establish a better relationship with communities in the US and deliver full transparency to ensure the trust of every donor ” said Ester Demirchyan, the President of "City Of Smile" Foundation.
Our mission is to improve healthcare in Armenia with a primary focus on pediatric and adult oncology/hematology by establishing a comprehensive cancer center. We aim to use the Dana Farber module to improve cancer care in country and the overall region.