Monday, March 23, 2009

A Little Girl Needs Help

I have made international friends by blogging and I want to share an appeal from another blogger who has family in Armenia.

Gayane is a 13 year old girl who lives in a remote village of Davtashen. She has been diagnosed with a large ovarian tumor and she needs an immediate hysterectomy in the capital, Yerevan. The surgery will determine the tumor type (benign vs. cancer) and most tumors in young girls have low malignant potential and can be cured by removal. The tumor could be a teratoma, which is also curable with removal.

The surgery will cost $600-800 and Gayane's poor parents do not have the money. My blogging friend, Armen, will set up an account today in Gayane's name to pay for her surgery. I trust him and I am personally donating. I have a son Gayane's age and while I know there are millions of children that need help...this is the one that has reached out to me.

If you would like to contribute, please email: and Armen will promptly reply and answer any questions you may have.


Anonymous said...

Isn't Armenia's health care system socialized?

Toni Brayer MD said...

Anon: I am no expert on Armenia but I know they have only been an independent nation(from USSR) since 1991 and they only spend 1.64% of GDP on health care. To answer your question, no it is not socialized and like many underdeveloped countries, there is no safety net.

S. Jones said...

I have followed this blog off and on for a while now, and have found it to be consistently interesting, informative and entertaining, but this is the first time that I have been disappointed.

While I believe Dr. Brayer's assertion that she trust's the submitter of this story is sincere, I am a bit surprised that she would post a direct plea for money for an individual. Such a plea seems to change the nature and flavor of this blog in a way that somehow cheapens it, which is ironic being that the plea itself seems to have been posted with a genuine degree of caring and compassion.

I have researched the plea itself, tracing the source article back to a Dr. Romona Bates who posted the article on, a medical information and news aggregation and distribution site run out of Lenoir, NC. As far as my research can find, there is no evidence of scamming (present or past) associated with Dr. Bates or, which is reassuring.

But, even give these findings, I still have concerns about Dr. Brayer's choice to use her blog to solicit funds in this way. Wjile I don't believe that Dr. Brayer will next be posting pleas from the relatives of deceased Nigerian businessmen, I do wonder if these types of pleas will be appearing more often now on Dr. Brayer's otherwise fine blog, and if they do, if Dr. Brayer has considered how these types of pleas may change the perception of her blog as a whole.

Toni Brayer MD said...

S. Jones: Thanks for your thoughtful comments and for reading my blog but I think a reply is warranted. First, this is not a scam, but a real live child with a real medical problem that could use real help. I know the owner of eMaxHealth and his roots are in Armenia. The request is for $600-800. There is no expectation that readers will give, but I believe the act of giving is sacred so if it feels compelling, this is the opportunity.

Regarding the use of my blog for such a plea: because I use my real name, I am very careful with what I post. I research the stories, try to be non political (fail at that one!)and try to be interesting. My readers have come to trust that what I write can be counted on to be true and this child's need fits that criteria.

EverythingHealth reflects my opinions and values and since I think thoughtful giving is a sacred act, it makes sense that I would post this small plea from a small girl who could use help.

m.scott said...

Dr. Brayer
I agree that giving is sacred, and demonstrates a true depth of compassion in the human spirit. I also applaud your ability to weigh that spirit more heavily than I am able to weigh my cynicism about such internet-based giving requests.

In any case, based on how far this specific plea has been spread already (I counted at least 20 different sites where this story has been posted), and the nature of longevity of stories on the internet, it is very likely that Gayane’s family will end up receiving far more than the $600-$800 needed for her operation.

NCMan said...

This is a reply to S. Jones.

My name is Armen Hareyan and I am the publisher of Like Dr Brayer, I use my name too and am not afraid to do the right thing and help when I can.

The reason I decided to do this is because the story reached out to me. I personally know the family. I also decided to find help for this girl because I am a parent too. That says all.

Now my challenge.

S. Jones, are you willing to wear the shoes that this girl or her parents have and walk a mile in their shoes?

Common, you seem to be very eloquent.

NCMan said...

Few more things that I would like to share.

1. The fact that Gayane's story appears in several other sites may be explained in the following say. There is a large Armenian community in USA and a very big Armenian Diasporal spread all over the world after 1915 after the Armenian Genocide in Turkey. When Armenians see a fellow Armenian needs help, and knowing the difficult situation with the public health in the country, they spread the word trying to do the minimum to help. So I am glad to see the news is spreading, although I have personally not sought any media attention. But I cannot police who is picking up the story and being moved by the tragedy that has hit hard to this girl and her family.

2. The account has been functional since yesterday. So far there is only 300 dollars in the account. I think we will probably close the account something next week or at the end of next week once we see if the donations are drying. Also it may depend on how things will go after Gayane's operation which is set for Thursday. Hope all goes well for her. Your prayers are very much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I hope for Gayane and her family that it is a benign tumor and that her surgeon can take care of it with only having to remove one ovary so she can have the choice as an adult to have her own family if she wishes. I know what it is like to have a family member with ovarian cancer, but as Dr.Brayer said being so young there are higher odds of it being non cancerous. I wish her amd her family the best this Thur..

S.jones said...

To NCMan

Who is to say I haven't walked in their shoes, or they in mine?

And if Gayane benefits from your efforts on her behalf, then I would be truly glad, because cynicism is a tiresome and sad burden to carry.

Good luck to Gayane and to you.

NCMan said...

Hello S. jones,

That sounds fair. I will keep doctor Brayer updated. Look for an update about how things go.

Knitted_in_the_Womb said...

Wait a minute...a hysterectomy for a 13 year old???

I'd want to be DARNED sure that is really needed! My grandmother had a tumor the size of a grapefruit on her ovary when she was 15...and went on to have 5 children and lived to be 79. She had the tumor and ovary removed, but not the uterus.

Anonymous said...


How did little Gayane do with her surgery today? I was also surprised about her surgeon not just taking the ovary with the tumor out to be sent to pathology to check for cancer unless they absolutely knew her tumor was not benign. Beig a woman I'm hopeful they could save the other ovary giving her a chance for having a famiy of her own if she choses when she is grown up so she won't have to go through another heart wrenching experiance. She looks happy in the photo and I hope she turns out to have a non cancerous tumor so she can go on to lead a happy life fulfilling life.

NCMan said...

Hello everyone.

As I promised here is an update on Gayane. Dr. Bates explains the situation. We have posted a full update at

Anonymous said...


Please let us know if there are any new updates on Gayane since the thyroid problem delayed her surgery. Wishing her and her family the best for her recovery and that they will find it not to be cancer, but a benignn tumor instead. I'm stil thinking of her.

Toni Brayer MD said...

Anon 9:31 and others: I heard from my friend and little Gayane had her surgery in Armenia. It was not malignant and the doctors removed one and 1/2 of her ovaries, which leaves her fertile. $928 was raised and it allowed her to have the surgery, which resulted in a happy ending. Thanks for the interest and for asking about her.

Kellie said...

Thanks for posting the ending of or I should say new happy begining of Gayane's surgery and results. I'm glad all of you that were involved raised the money so she could have her surgery with a little extra to help in her recovery.
I'm happy for Gayane that she could remain fertile for her to be able to make her own decision in the future if she wishes to have a family.
I liked and agree with what you said said about the act of giving being sacred. It is fulfilling to do something meaninfful.

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