NEW YORK — For the past several years, the Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR) (www.soar-us.org) has followed an 8-year old girl named Lilit Zakaryan, who has a severe spinal condition requiring surgery that cannot be performed in Armenia.
Lilit first came to their attention several years ago at the Children’s Home of Gumri. When she turned 7, Lilit moved to the Mari Izmirlyan Orphanage in Yerevan.
Her father is deceased, and her mother’s whereabouts are unknown.
In the summer of 2015, SOAR and the Harold and Josephine Gulamerian Armenian Orphan Fund (GAOF) decided to look outside of Armenia for the surgery. After several months of investigation, both in the US and Europe, the wonderful team at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York was identified. Neurosurgeon Dr. John M. Caridi not only agreed to perform the 10-hour surgery, but all of the surgical costs have been engaged pro bono.
SOAR and the GAOF will assume all costs related to transportation from Armenia, local accommodations, and post-surgical rehabilitation.
“We extend our immense gratitude to Dr. Caridi and Delta Keoninh for their ongoing assistance during the past several months! Without question, the surgery is critical to Lilit’s long-term health, as she would be facing life-threatening consequences without the intervention,” said George S. Yacoubian, Jr., Executive Board chairman of SOAR.
Zakaryan arrived in the US on January 19, and was admitted for pre-op testing on January 20. Surgery has been scheduled for January 27 (after press time).
“We anticipate that Lilit will remain in the intensive care unit for several days post-surgery, with rehabilitation to follow in mid-February. We hope Lilit can return to Armenia in mid-March,” Yacoubian said.
The people who have contributed to her journey are too numerous to mention in this article, but without a doubt, she is loved around the world. To follow her story, go to http://lilitinamerica.blogspot.com/. If you would like to support Zakaryan with a gift or financial donation, or have questions about SOAR or the GAOF, contact George S. Yacoubian, Jr. at [email protected].