MAHAK Founder / ISCC Co-founder / Director
Iranian born, philanthropist and writer of Kimia Khatoon has been working to improve the access and standards of cancer treatment in Iran after having a child with cancer. After years of working with others to establish MAHAK she is receiving worldwide recognition and support to move forward with the work that began 18 years ago.
Her inspiration for establishing MAHAK was her own darling two year old daughter's affliction with this dreaded disease. The shortcomings she witnessed and the difficulties she experienced during the course of her daughter's treatment, along with seeing first hand the suffering of other parents who were even more desperate than her were very disturbing to her.
She was deeply moved by the pain and distress experienced by the disadvantaged during this experience. To quote her words she says: "I felt ashamed of my own restlessness when I saw the agony of the needy."
Mrs. Ghods was greatly affected by all of this and out of love wanted to do something so that these people didn't find themselves alone when faced with such agony. She made a pact with God that if her daughter was cured she would do anything she can to help these needy families and their children.
Happily, Mrs. Ghods' daughter completely recovered and today she is a bright young lady pursuing her studies at UC Berkeley. Mrs. Ghods followed up with her pledge and with the help of some wonderful friends and family who came to share her love and compassion for their fellow human beings started MAHAK to help indigent children suffering from cancer and their families. As a result, MAHAK, Society to Support Children Suffering from Cancer was registered in Iran in 1991 as a non-profit, non-governmental organization and it continues its work 16 years later solely with the help of charitable people. It was built on and for love and it thrives on hope.
At the start of its activities her small group met in a basement room but today with the persistence of Mrs. Ghods and the help of its supporters and volunteers MAHAK has grown into a respected, transparent, internationally recognized entity operating a hospital of its own. MAHAK is truly a dream that came true.
In addition to work done through MAHAK, Mrs. Ghods has gone on to help develop other NGOs such as ISCC, BCSI, and the GFI to promote Iran's cancer treatment as well as help the environment. Today she continues to travel throughout Iran and the world organizing, meeting, fund raising, and developing way to foster and grow these organizations.
As a writer Ms. Ghods was inspired to write a story based on her experiences. In 2006 she wrote the award winning book Kimia Khatoon that is being considered to become a feature film.
Co-founder / Chair / CEO
Fereshteh Tavakoli is the co-founder of International Society for Children with Cancer (ISCC). ISCC was established in 2004, and began operating with Ms. Tavakoli and a few of her friends. Since then, it has grown in size and scope, attracting a large member base, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars through fund-raising events, personal donations and charity sales. ISCC has donated funds to health organizations in over a dozen countries, including Afghanistan, Iran, Bangladesh and Kenya.
In December 2008, ISCC became the first and only non-government organization to get approval from US Treasury to send money to Iran. Ms. Tavakoli is credited for invigorating a grassroots movement among the Iranian-American community in Los Angeles to take up her cause. She has been tireless in this effort: driving all around the state giving presentations and lectures at universities, social clubs and community gatherings; appearing weekly on Iranian radio shows to encourage social activism in the community; and establishing a youth chapter, drawing second-generation Iranian-Americans to connect to their home-land.
Ms. Tavakoli was born in Tehran, Iran, and has lived in the United States, on and off, since the 1960s. Educated in interior design at the University of Idaho, Ms. Tavakoli spent her early career as a decorator in Tehran and also worked at Tehran University.
She became involved with MAHAK in 1991. Over the years, Ms. Tavakoli volunteered as a social worker at public children's hospitals, fund-raising coordinator and public relations director. MAHAK is now Iran's leading and biggest NGO. MAHAK has a state-of-the-art research facility and hospital specializing in treatment of children with cancer. Ms. Tavakoli is still involved with MAHAK and volunteers her services when she visits Tehran once a year. ISCC is a broader continuation of MAHAK's mission and dream of not letting any cancer-stricken child die due to lack of funds.
Ms. Tavakoli has two daughters and lives in Chatsworth with her husband.
Ph.D. MAHAK Hospital Founder ISCC Director
Dr. Javad Karbassi-Zadeh PhD is a philanthropist that over the past twenty-five years has built more than forty schools in Khorasan, Baluchestan and Hormozgan for the blind and poor. He and his beloved wife, Afsaneh, became involved with MAHAK a non-profit organization for supporting needy children with cancer in 1998 after Afsaneh was diagnosed with cancer. The couple was extremely touched by the incredible work MAHAK was doing for the indigent children. The love of humanity was their motivation to donate MAHAK's hospital building and help build a specialized, state of the art hospital with the application of the latest scientific and medical techniques for the children suffering from cancer. MAHAK is the first non-governmental organization in the Middle East to gain the Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS) Verified Certificate of NGO Benchmarking. Unfortunately, Afsaneh died in 2000, however, her legacy still lives and MAHAK hospital is helping thousands of children.
Dr. Karbassi-Zadeh was born in Esphehan, Iran. Educated in Electrical Engineering, Dr. Karbassi-Zadeh received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Grenoble University – France where he resided for thirty-eight years. He earned his first Masters Degree in Electro-technique from Tehran Polytechnic – Iran and second Masters Degree in Physics Electricity Degree from Grenoble University – France.
He was the CEO of Engineering Kamyari and Professor of Engineering at the University of Techniquom where he taught prior to moving to France. He is a member of Cultural Organization of Iran and Southern Khorasan, Board of Trustees and Board of Directors, Chair at MAHAK.
Dr. Karbassi-Zadeh has two daughters, one son and three grandchildren.
President / Director
Negin Tafazzoli Mohammadzadeh moved to the U.S. in fall of 1983 and attended high school and college in Irvine, California. She graduated cum laude from Georgia State University with a degree in Finance and subsequently worked as a Loan Officer at Union Bank.
Having lived in California, Georgia, and Michigan, she finally settled down in Thousand Oaks, California. She has been married to her husband Dr. Gholamreza Mohammadzadeh, a cardio-thoracic surgeon, for 22 years and they have 2 children.
Negin has always been very involved in her community and is active in charitable work. She served as the president of the Rotary Club of Conejo Valley Centennial, a chapter of Rotary International, in 2006/07 and is currently an honorary member of Conejo Valley Rotary Club. She has also been an integral part of the Adult Gift of Life program, which arranges for indigent patients from developing countries to be brought to Southern California for life-saving heart surgeries free of charge.
Other organizations she has been involved with in the past include:
- Butterworth Hospital Assistance Guild - Grand Rapids, MI
- Westlake Junior Women’s Club - Westlake Village, CA
- The Centennial Guild of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles – Los Angeles, CA
Her involvement with MAHAK and International Society for Children with Cancer (ISCC) started in the spring of 2007. She has served ISCC as the president of the board for the last 3 years.
Vice-Chair / Director
- Co-founder of Home Creations, Oklahoma’s largest home builder.
- Built over 6,000 single family residences in Oklahoma since 1981.
- Commercial and industrial real estate projects in Oklahoma.
- Local oil and gas investor.
- Market investor.
- Co-founder of Home Creations, Canada. Multi-family residential project.
- Bachelor of Science, Environmental Design, University of Oklahoma, 1981.
- Master of Architecture, University of Oklahoma, 1984.
- Certified Professional Builder – Oklahoma State Home Builders Association.
- Recipient of various construction and management certifications.
- Husband of Shokoh and father of three sons. The oldest, MJ, is Home
Creations Executive Construction Director. Hamid and Vahid own a video
production company in Moore, Oklahoma.
- Co-endow a chair with brother Jalal under the Farzaneh family for Iranian,
cultural and social studies at University of Oklahoma.
- Advisory board member, Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry.
- Board of visitors, SIAS, University of Oklahoma.
- Search committee member for professor to chair Iranian studies at University
- Advisor, Mayor of Oklahoma City.
- Board of advisory member, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.
- Board of trustee member, Farsi School of Oklahoma.
- Member, Rotary Club.
- Endowed lecture series for five years in two different departments, University of
PREVIOUS CIVIL & PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
- Former board of director, Norman Builders Association, Norman, Oklahoma.
- Former board of director, Oklahoma City International Trade Association.
- Former advisor, Mayor of Norman, Oklahoma.
COMMUNITY SERVICE INVOLVEMENT & SUPPORT
- Three-year Builder Blitz participant, to build a total home, Central Oklahoma
Habitat for Humanity - 2006, 2008 & 2010.
- American Cancer Society - Edmond, Oklahoma City and Norman.
- Cleveland County FamilyYMCA.
- Oklahoma Fraternal Order of Police.
- American Heart Association.
- ISCC (Mahak).
- United Way
- American Red Cross.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cleveland County, Oklahoma.
- Farsi School of Oklahoma.
- Local schools, sports teams, etc.
- Very active in local and national politics, cultural, religious and educational
organizations locally and nationally.
Dr. Gholamreza Mohammadzadeh was born in Tehran, Iran. He moved to the United States at age 15 and finished high school in Grand Rapids, Michigan. From there he enrolled at the University of Michigan for his undergraduate education followed by medical school at Rush Medical College in Chicago. He then completed his specialty training at the University of Michigan Hospitals in Ann Arbor, Emory University Hospitals in Atlanta and UCSD Medical Center in San Diego.
Since 1995, Dr. Mohammadzadeh has been in practice of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery in southern California. During that time he has performed over 3000 open-heart surgeries and numerous other lung and vascular operations. He is currently the medical director of the Adult Gift of Life program, whereby two underprivileged patients from third world countries are brought to Los Angeles for free life saving open-heart surgeries annually.
He has been a member of the board of ISCC since 2009.
Mr. Shahpour Javadizadeh was born in Tehran, Iran. He is a graduate of Alborz College in Tehran, Iran. In 1968 he earned his B.S. degree in finance from California State University Northridge, CA.
1969-1972 Chief Accountant for Singer-Librascope , Glendale, CA
1972-1980 First Vice President, investment /Money management, Bateman Eichler Hill Richards, Pasadena, CA
1980-2000 President/ Partner Riordan Johnston and Javadizadeh , A boutique investment/ Money management firm, Pasadena , CA
2000-Present President RRJ Pasadena Securities Broker-Dealer Investment Money Manager. Pasadena, CA
Mr. Javadizadeh is married with two children, resides in Chatsworth, CA.
His passion is helping the less fortunate.
Treasurer / Director
Ms. Azam Abdollahi was born in Tehran, Iran. When she first left Iran in 1976, she moved to London, England and immigrated to Southern California in 1981. She has three children and five grandchildren. Along with ISCC, she is involved with the Iranian American Women Foundation and also is a fundraiser and annual walker for the March of Dimes and Miller Children’s Hospital of Long Beach.
In addition to being a philanthropist, Ms. Abdollahi is a businesswoman. She is the Chief Financial Officer of Cabinets 2000, Inc., a company she founded with her husband in 1989. Cabinets 2000 is one of the leading and fastest-growing manufacturers of frameless European-style cabinets in California.
Azam Abdollahi has been a volunteer with the International Society for Children with Cancer (ISCC) since 2009. From the inception of her involvement, she has been a stalwart supporter of the organization, and has served as co-chair of various event committees. These events have been extremely successful, both in terms of enhancing ISCC’s reputation in the community and in raising funds for ISCC’s mission of helping children with cancer.
What prompted Ms. Abdollahi to join ISSC was personal experience – in 2008, her granddaughter spent 54 days in the hospital, with an unclear prognosis as to her survival. Watching her granddaughter in the hospital, and feeling the anxiety and helplessness of standing by and waiting, invoked in Ms. Abdollahi a passion for helping other children with illnesses. While her story had a happy ending, Ms. Abdollahi was aware that not every child is so fortunate. She became committed to working with ISCC to help ease the strains of suffering on children with cancer and their families.
Since becoming a volunteer with ISCC, Ms. Abdollahi has twice visited MAHAK hospital in Iran, which is funded in part by ISCC. There, she saw firsthand the children and families for which ISCC works. She witnessed caring doctors and nurses with smiles and encouraging words, walls decorated with children’s artwork, and a highly specialized pediatric hospital offering the latest technology for detecting and treating pediatric cancer. In the words of Ms. Abdollahi, “what I saw there was hope.”
Secretary / Director
Paddi Sharifian received her Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School and her MBA from Loyola Marymount University. After which, she practiced in Orange County as a real estate attorney in complex litigation for a number of years. At this time, she is a volunteer mediator with OC Human Relations in resolving conflicts outside of litigation. Her involvement in the community and volunteering has assisted many families to achieve stable lives in their time of need. She is the founder of “Project Love” which has been helping families & children during the holidays for the past thirteen years. Paddi has been an active member of ISCC since 2009
Professionally Mr. Andy Shams is a very successful entrepreneur having founded and managed several companies in international trade and consulting. He is currently CEO of Vala Associates, an international consulting firm. Mr. Shams has been involved and is a pivotal supporter of ISCC since 2007. Through his charitable foundation, Mr. Shams supports a wide range of national/international philanthropic and social justice organizations.
Dr. Haida M. Mojdehi received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with a minor in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego and her law Degree from the University Of San Diego School Of Law.
As an active and prominent philanthropist, Haida has served on various boards and is presently on the board of “Project Concern International” and “Outside the Lens” in San Diego. She is passionate about humanitarian causes and has been a key advisor and supporter of ISCC.