ABMDR New England Walkathon Draws Grassroots Support

A scene from the walkathon. (Photo: AMBDR)

WATERTOWN, Mass. – The Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) held its sixth annual New England Walk of Life on September 23, garnering enthusiastic community support. The eagerly anticipated walkathon, which took place in Watertown, drew the participation of numerous community organizations and a large number of young people, including students from local schools and universities.

As in previous years, Walk of Life received major corporate sponsorship from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Other sponsors and supporters included the Armenian-American Pharmacists’ Association, PROMETRIKA LLC of Cambridge, Watertown Savings Bank, several other local businesses, the Armenian Tree Project, and the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center (ACEC).

During the walkathon’s opening ceremony, held at ACEC, lead marshal Alex Antounian delivered the opening remarks and introduced the event’s guest speaker, Dr. David Weinstock. An Associate Professor of Medicine in the Medical Oncology Department at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and an attending physician on Bone Marrow Transplant inpatient service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Weinstock commended the walkers for their very important contribution in raising awareness and funds to help save lives.

The 2.2-mile walk concluded at Watertown Square, where participants enjoyed great music, dancing, and food, along with thousands of people attending the annual Faire on the Square festival.

During the closing ceremony, Shant Der Torossian of the New England Walk of Life Committee said, “It’s amazing to see so many community organizations and individuals come together again today to promote and participate in this walkathon. Some of you have been with us since day one. We couldn’t do this without you!”

Der Torossian also thanked the organizers and sponsors, emphasizing the extraordinary grassroots and youth support which the walkathon had garnered. “With your generous support and dedication, we completed another successful walkathon,” he said.

Subsequently Der Torossian announced this year’s walkathon winners. The Armenian American Pharmacists’ Association was recognized as the team to have raised the most funds; for the fourth year, Nairi Krafian, who received the Volunteer of the Year award at the ABMDR Gala in Los Angeles in August 2017, won for having individually raised the most funds; and the combined St. James, Erebuni Saturday School, and ACYOA team was recognized for highest number of participants.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Armenian Tree Project will plant commemorative trees in Armenia in honor of the walkathon winners, as part of the #LivingCentury Initiative. “This meaningful gesture appropriately symbolizes the ‘gift of life’ which our cause represents,” Der Torossian said.

About the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry: Established in 1999, ABMDR, a nonprofit organization, helps Armenians and non-Armenians worldwide survive life-threatening blood-related illnesses by recruiting and matching donors to those requiring bone marrow stem cell transplants. To date, the registry has recruited over 29,000 donors in 30 countries across four continents, identified over 4,190 patients, and facilitated 30 bone marrow transplants. For more information, call (323) 663-3609 or visit abmdr.am.

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