PACI honors cancer survivors and patients in the community

               Photo:  Abbas Hojatpanah

On Sunday, October 25, 2009, the Persian American Cancer Institute (PACI) held a special luncheon to salute cancer survivors and to honor cancer patients in our community at the beautiful Riviera Country Club, in Pacific Palisades, CA, overlooking one of the most exquisite golf courses in the world.

This event, which was a first of its kind within the Iranian-American community, welcomed over 250 guests; 80 of those guests consisted of the brave individuals who are either fighting cancer or have survived it. The program intended to create a warm and welcoming environment for those individuals to connect, share their stories with one another and feel that they are not alone in their journey.  Those not affected by cancer joined to simply show their support to their loved ones and to help PACI's mission, which is to increase the awareness and participation of Persian-Americans in the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer.  
Master of Ceremony, Dr. Kathy Shafagh, a cancer survivor herself, kicked off the program by welcoming the guests, while sharing her personal story with cancer, her positive and hopeful attitude through it all and staying strong for her two young children. Her story, like many others, is a true example of how one can indeed win the battle with the illness and come out stronger and more effective in society than before and become a pillar of support to others who are going through the same experience.
Dr. Omid Hamid and Dr. Charles Sadler, both members of the Board of PACI, provided a report on the organization's efforts, while introducing the PACI Medical Committee members and the tremendous value each of the committee members bring to PACI.  They also provided details about PACI's efforts in creating a Persian-American Bone Marrow Registry with the help of City of Hope and the importance of having a strong registry within the community, in order to increase the possibility of finding a match to a patient in need.  PACI has been sponsoring bone marrow drives within the community over the past few months, which has received overwhelming response from the members of the community.  To validate this point, the touching story of Keyvan, who has been able to find a match as a result of PACI's efforts, was shared on the projection screen.
The program continued with a live auction of several items, including an original painting by the talented Hessam Abrishami and a beautiful bronze statue by Rebecca Setareh; both artists were present at the event.
Keynote speaker, Dr. Farhang Holakouee, offered his valuable insight on how to cope with cancer and the steps each individual should take to be stronger and more positive, whether as a patient or family member.  He was followed by Dr. Homa Mahmoudi, who informed the guests of a great new program that PACI is developing to provide free counseling services to cancer patients and survivors, as part of PACI's mission to EDUCATE, SUPPORT and GUIDE the Persian community.  The counseling services will be led by both Dr. Mahmoudi and Dr. Holakouee, which again will bring tremendous value to PACI members in need.
The afternoon concluded with a performance by the talented entertainer Michael who brought big smiles to all of the guests' faces with his amazing talent and unique show.  As the finale, he performed of his original songs, about Iran, which brought all of the guests onto their feet.
All around the world, organizations similar to PACI have played a crucial role in the battle against cancer; PACI believes that it is our time and duty to join such a global movement.  PACI strives to heal not only the debilitating cancer, but also the fragile heart and human spirit that weaken during such traumatic process.  With the support and endorsement of some of the best known cancer institutes and the recruitment of community leaders, artists, activists, survivors and their families, the organization is determined to make a difference and reduce the impact of cancer in the Persian-American community and in the world beyond. 

For more information about PACI and how to register with the Persian-American Bone Marrow Registry to help save lives for FREE, please



1) Join online for FREE at; when asked to provide a "Promo Code" enter PACI4HOPE

2) Come to the Bone Marrow Drive on Sunday, November 1st
UCLA, Kerchoff Grand Salon
between 1 and 5 PM
308 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095

3) Come to the Bone Marrow Drive on Sunday, November 8th
between NOON and 5 p.m.
20215 Saticoy St.
Canoga Park, CA 91306
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