Baby Garen’s New Kidney

Garen’s 2nd birthday post-surgery (Annie Yepremian Facebook page)

Prayers have been answered for the family of Garen Yepremian, who received his new kidney last week on a very special occasion. 

“On his 2nd birthday, he received the most precious gift, the gift of healthy life, the most precious gift that we could ever ask for,” said his mother Annie in a Facebook post filled with gratitude.

The story of how his living kidney donor came forward is one of a community’s devotion and determination to help. Several events have been held over the last year to spread the word about Garen’s need, including a fundraiser dinner organized by the Sts. Vartanantz Church Men’s Club earlier this summer. It only took one to find the right donor – an awareness and fundraising event held in March by Sonia’s Near East Market & Deli run by brother-sister duo Ara and Sevan Janigian in Cranston, RI.

Garen and Sebouh the day before his surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital (Annie Yepremian Facebook page)

Garen’s father Sebouh revealed what he could about the donor so far. She is a woman in her early 40s who heard Garen’s story through the event in March. “She got in contact with us asking for detailed information about how to apply,” Sebouh said. The family didn’t hear anything for several months while the necessary testing was conducted – until the hospital eventually told them that “she was the matching person and decided to proceed all the way with the process of a living kidney donation,” he explained.

On Sunday, August 15, the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrated the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God. On that day after the Divine Liturgy the family’s pastor, Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian of Sts. Vartanantz Church in Providence, offered prayers and a blessing over Garen for a successful transplant surgery.

Der Kapriel blesses Garen in his father’s arms with mother Annie and brother Ari’s participation

Following the blessing, Garen’s parents expressed gratitude to all those who have been praying “for this miracle since the day he was born.” “Today we prayed for all the supporters, financially and emotionally, volunteers and warriors who stepped forward to help us in every possible way and to the ones who tried to give Garen a kidney,” Annie said, referring to the several people who were unable to donate for a variety of reasons.

Garen with his father Sebouh in church

His parents are delighted to report that the surgery was a success and was followed by a special birthday celebration at Boston Children’s Hospital where Garen will recover. “Garen’s new kidney is working well, but the doctors are keeping him for three weeks to regulate his blood pressure and electrolytes and make sure it’s safe for him to go home,” his father explained. After he returns home, Garen and his family will need to travel to Boston Children’s Hospital twice a week for the first two months so he can undergo regular testing. This will gradually reduce to twice a month and finally once a month, requiring the family to be relatively isolated for about six months.

“And hopefully, God willing, we will get through this, and Garen will have a healthy, happy life with family and friends,” concluded his father.

Garen and his family have a long road ahead with continuing and mounting medical bills and needs. If you would like to help, please visit their GoFundMe page.

Garen surrounded by surprises sent by his aunts and godmother on his second birthday
Pauline Getzoyan

Pauline Getzoyan

Pauline Getzoyan is editor of the Armenian Weekly and an active member of the Rhode Island Armenian community. A longtime member of the Providence ARF and ARS, she also is a former member of the ARS Central Executive Board. A longtime advocate for genocide education through her work with the ANC of RI, Pauline is co-chair of the RI branch of The Genocide Education Project. In addition, she has been an adjunct instructor of developmental reading and writing in the English department at the Community College of Rhode Island since 2005.

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