By Alin K. Gregorian
CLEVELAND — When one thinks of a major Armenian community in the US, certainly Glendale, Fresno and Watertown come to mind. However, it seems when it comes to the true meaning of community, the folks in Cleveland make up for their small size with their generous hearts.
The community, through St. Gregory of Narek Church and its pastor, Fr. Hratch Sargsyan, is rallying behind Stella Arakelyan, 17, a leukemia patient from Armenia has been receiving care at the Cleveland Clinic since May. Stella is accompanied by her mother, Iren.
In a letter to the Mirror-Spectator, she wrote, “Four days before her prom in Yerevan, Armenia, she was diagnosed with Philadelphia Chromosome Positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. This diagnosis came as a shock to her family and friends and herself. At the tender age of 10 she had already been diagnosed with another life-threatening disease — diabetes. Stella had endured her illness with extraordinary strength and maturity, but this new blow and the terrifying diagnosis of cancer has put a stop to her dreams.”