The Kardashian sisters

The Kardashian sisters are seen in this promotional photo. Kourtney Kardashian is helping promote a bone marrow drive for Armenians in Glendale Tuesday. (E! via Los Angeles Times / February 26, 2013)

Organizers for the annual Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry drive in Glendale today are tapping the star power of the most visible Armenian family in American pop culture -- the Kardashians.

The registry’s online advertising for the drive, which will be held at Glendale Memorial Hospital from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, has centered on an appeal from Kourtney Kardashian on behalf of her cousin CiCi, who needs a bone marrow donor after her body stopped responding to chemotherapy.

Frieda Jordan, who has coordinated the registration drive since it started 14 year ago, said she was hoping the Kardashian cachet would help attract a new set of potential donors.

“The buzz is there, I think the Kardashians are tweeting it for the whole week,” she said. “We hope there will be hundreds [of registrants].”

The need for the registry stems from the fact that bone marrow donations must come from a close genetic match – a problem for an ethnic group living in a worldwide diaspora, according to Jordan.

“Like any other minority that has lived in a closed population, where the number of intermarriages are not that many, throughout the years [Armenians] have developed this unique genetic makeup,” she said.

When Armenians register, their information is entered into a global database so that they can potentially be matched with patients worldwide.

“There are hundreds of patients which are really desperate to get a bone marrow match,” Jordan said.

The registration drive will be held in the auditorium of Glendale Memorial Hospital, 1420 Central Ave.

“We try to be as supportive as we can with that organization,” said hospital spokeswoman Rima Mardirosian. “They’re a great organization, we’re just very happy to be able to be a part of that effort.”

A second registration drive will be held in Las Vegas on Sunday, at the Las Vegas Armenian Apostolic Church.

For more information call the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry at (323) 663-3609.

-- Daniel Siegal, Times Community News

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