The Floor Covering Industry Foundation (FCIF) has been assisting members of the flooring industry since it was chartered in 1981. It serves as a helping hand to those who are battling medical conditions and financial crisis. Over the years, FCIF has aided many of the industry’s own, including Ararat Torabyan of Tujunga, Calif.
Torabyan immigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s after an earthquake destroyed his home in Armenia. Both Torabyan and his wife knew they wanted to have a big family so he found his way into the flooring industry. Working hard for his family, he was employed for 20 years as a junior (and then senior) installer for Felikian’s Carpet One. “Our life was good. We had just bought our own home and had our second baby. Then I got sick,” he said of the stage four Leukemia he was diagnosed with in 2009.
At points, his illness was so bad his legs would bruise simply from walking. He needed a stem cell transplant, and found a match in his sister. “The hardest part was my wife and I had to sign papers saying we understood we wouldn’t be able to have babies after my transplant,” Torabyan wrote on an FCIF questionnaire. After the transplant, complications arose. Torabyan was diagnosed with Graft versus Host disease, a rare condition in which donor stem cells attack the recipient. While he enjoyed his job and the people he worked with, he had to stop working in 2010. In 2015, he was diagnosed with oral cancer, which he’s been battling since.
His last surgery was as recent as January 2018. In 2017 he spent 151 days in the hospital. Because of medical expenses and Torabyan’s inability to work, the family was behind on mortgage payments, and to make matters worse, in 2016 Torabyan’s 13-year-old daughter Anabell began experiencing cramping that was so painful she could barely walk. After months of searching for an answer, she was finally diagnosed. “The doctor told me Anabell had Leukemia and then I lost my world,” Torabyan said.
Luckily, a friend from Felikian’s learned of FCIF at a convention and came to Torabyan urging him to apply. Not soon after, the family received a letter from FCIF with a check inside. “I was admitted to the hospital the same day I found out we had been accepted,” Torabyan said. “I felt so much relief when my wife brought the letter into my room.” Torabyan’s daughter, now in remission, is back at school, and while he continues to fight his own illness, he shows extreme appreciation for his team of doctors and those at FCIF.
“In your darkest time when everything closes on you, you sit back and think why is this world still turning with so much sorrow? And then you meet people like those in the FCIF,” he said. “Because of people like you the world is still turning. I want to thank you for your organization, for everyone working together — all the donors, and all the volunteers. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart."