CAMBRIDGE, Mass.— A pilgrimage to Armenia in 2016 transformed Holy Trinity Armenian Church parishioner Cynthia Kazanjian’s life. The change was not so much in religious terms but in terms of igniting passion for a cause that has not left her.
Kazanjian and a group of visitors from the church were invited to visit the Muratsan Chemotherapy Clinic in Yerevan, specializing in the treatment of children stricken with cancer. She and a few others agreed to visit. The visit changed her.
Rev. Vasken Kouzouian was a friend of Dr. Gevorg Tamamyan, a pediatric oncologist and hematologist at the hospital, as the latter had been staying at the Holy Trinity parish house for a few months when he was doing a training session at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
“When he heard we were coming, he invited Yeretsgin (Arpi) and Der Hayr (Kouzouian) to visit the hospital. We visited with my grandson. He was telling us about what they do at the clinic and the challenges they face,” said Kazanjian.
Kazanjian’s 10-year-old grandson, Vaughan Krikorian, was with her and her husband, Richard Kazanjian, and did not say much during the tour, during which they saw many children stricken with cancer. One child, she recalled, couldn’t even pick her head up.
“He didn’t say anything,” she said. Then, once on the bus driving away from the hospital, she recalled he said, “What are we going to do about this?”