Imagine a man devoted to his family, his work, his art.
Imagine a man who helps others to his fullest extent, who loves, who is loved.
Imagine a man who is as grand to us as the mountain whose name he bears.
That man is Masis Apik.
We may think mountains can never fall, but then a brief yet powerful earthquake strikes and makes them crumble, damaged beyond belief.
This was our experience on the evening of July 17, 2019, the evening Masis suffered his car accident. An event that lasted not minutes, but mere seconds, yet whose aftermath would be felt for a lifetime.
That evening was a typical one, with Masis driving home from work, until suddenly it wasn’t. Just blocks away from his house, he collided with another car at an intersection. As a result of the accident, his C5 vertebra broke in such a way that it caused significant damage to other vertebrae as well as spinal cord. As he came to, seated in the car, he realized he had no feeling below his chest. Paramedics soon arrived at the scene and rushed him to the emergency room at nearby Northridge Hospital Medical Center. He soon underwent two spinal surgeries followed by a tracheostomy to treat pneumonia contracted during treatment. Eventually, he was transferred to Barlow Respiratory Hospital, and then to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center to undergo various treatments. His final stop was the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, a facility renowned for treating spinal cord injuries, where he spent two weeks and was discharged.
Masis finally arrived back at the house he walked out of four months earlier, now in a wheelchair, fully dependent on others for his daily care.
Masis was born on July 27, 1978 in Istanbul, Turkey. He completed his elementary and middle-school education at the Special Yesilköy Armenian Primary School and Getronagan Armenian High School, respectively. He began training on the piano at five years of age. Though he was otherwise a very active child, he surprised everyone with the calmness with which he sat when at the piano and his desire to learn to play the instrument. His talents were not limited to the piano. He also enjoyed drawing and partaking in any activity which required skilled hands. At nine years of age, Masis began accompanying his jeweler father to his store at the Grand Bazaar, crafting rings for his family and loved ones. Soon, jewelry design became one of his most beloved activities, and would ultimately shape his career choice.
At seventeen, Masis came to the United States, and soon enrolled at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in Carlsbad, California to complete his education in his chosen field. After several years working alongside his uncle, in 2003 he opened his own business, Design by Masis, in Downtown Los Angeles. In 2009, he married, and in 2015 he became a father. In addition to being a talented jewelry designer, Masis continued to display his skills as a good husband, father, and person. He also volunteered as an organist at St. Peter Armenian Apostolic Church. Time with his family, playing the piano, and his designs were the greatest sources of his happiness.
Your contributions to Masis will help fund his ongoing health, rehabilitation, and transportation service needs which are not covered through public assistance programs, and which are essential to quadriplegics.
Perhaps one day, a miracle will allow him to once again play his beloved piano, draw a designer ring, and most importantly, feel his fingertips as he embraces his son.