Young Stella Gets Transplant


CLEVELAND — The Armenian Mirror-Spectator first reported on the case of Stella Arakelian in August. Arakelian, 17, is a native of Armenia in Cleveland to receive treatement for cancer at the Cleveland Clinic.

She and her mother, Irena, have been adopted by the local Armenian community, under the aegis of St. Gregory of Narek Church and its pastor, Rev. Hratch Sargsyan.

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.

The teenager had been diagnosed in Armenia with leukemia. Her family was devastated as the young Stella had already been fighting diabetes since age 10.

Doctors treating her at the Cleveland Clinic with monthly chemotherapy had told the family that Stella’s best chance for beating the cancer was by receiving a bone marrow transplant. Against all odds, she found a match earlier this fall and had her surgery on November 8.

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The costs, of course, are staggering and well beyond the finances of the family.

Sargsyan said this past week, “We still continue the fundraising. So far we have raised over $20,000, plus $10,000 was raised in Armenia. We had a meeting with Cleveland Clinic staff and assured them on our continued efforts with fund raising. It was rather an emotional day for all of the people present in the room; there some tears and hugs and silent moments. The Cleveland Clinic staff present at that meeting assured that no matter how fast the fundraising goes that will not affect the clinical treatment for Stella. It was a big relief for her mom Irena to hear that.”

Sargsyan said that according to the hospital’s tradition, the medical staff sang Happy Transplant Day to You for the teen. Among those singers was her doctor, Rabi Hanna.

The prognosis seems positive. “So far she is doing okay. She even started to show some signs of success as the reproduction of new blood cells goes,” Sargsyan said. “We still need people’s support with prayers and finances because there will be more bills coming as the treatment continues after she is discharged. We also take this opportunity to thank all those who responding to the prompting that God has put in their hearts and considered making a kind donation or send a heart warming note/prayer or both for Stella. We thank you in advance if you consider making a donation in this blessed session of sharing and giving. Your tax deductible donations can be made online, or send a check made out to St. Gregory of Narek, memo line: Stella Fund, 678 Richmond Rd., Richmond Heights, OH 44143.

— Alin K. Gregorian



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