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David Geffen School of Medicine

Good Friends Join Forces to Fight Cancer

  Ali Jassim Cancer Research Suite  
  Manizheh Yomtoubian and Ali Jassim  

(Top) Ali Jassim’s gift will name a suite of research laboratories in the newly reconfigured UCLA Center for the Health Sciences, as shown in this rendering. Rendering: Gina Lyn Liszovics
(Bottom) Manizheh Yomtoubian (left) and Ali Jassim share a deep desire to help find better treatments for people with cancer.
Photo: Heshmat Jassim

For UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation Board members Manizheh Yomtoubian and Ali Jassim, a strong commitment to give back and a profound desire to stop cancer in its tracks created a powerful partnership. A friend of the Jassim family, Yomtoubian has known Ali Jassim for decades and was frequently a guest in the Jassim home. Jassim’s mother, Heshmat, had lost her brother to brain cancer and raised her brother’s children alongside Jassim and his siblings. These charitable lessons of family and commitment were not lost on young Jassim.

In the ensuing years, Jassim became a successful international businessman. Yomtoubian, a nurse at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for 18 years, established a foundation in memory of her husband Neria to encourage medical awareness in the Persian community. At a recent Jassim family wedding, Yomtoubian and Jassim’s conversation turned to philanthropy, and Jassim stepped forward to join Yomtoubian in the fight against cancer by making a $10-million commitment in honor of his family to UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC).

Jassim is the first donor to name a suite of research laboratories in the newly reconfigured UCLA Center for the Health Sciences (CHS). The Ali Jassim Family Cancer Research Suite is located on the fifth floor of CHS — the very place where Yomtoubian finished her UCLA nursing career. In addition, Jassim’s generosity will establish the UCLA Ali Jassim Family Cancer Research Program to fund high-priority cancer research, as determined by the JCCC director.

This gift was the result of a conversation between friends that revealed a shared dedication to find new ways to treat cancer. “Don’t be afraid to talk about a cause that you think is important,” says Yomtoubian. “Most of the time, you can find people who sympathize with your cause. Friends can follow in the steps of the person who they believe is doing something important.”

For more information, contact Margaret Steele at: (310) 794-5244


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