Armenia Fund Bikeathon Raises $50,000

LOS ANGELES-TORONTO–Armenia Fund U.S. Western Region and Armenia Fund Canada (Toronto) are pleased to announce the successful end of their Monterey-Los Angeles Bike Ride campaign.

After a long journey along the California coast, eight cyclists reached Los Angeles on Sunday, November 2, ending their ride at the St. James Armenian Apostolic Church of Los Angeles.

As the first ever Bike Ride jointly organized by two Armenia Fund affiliates, the effort has thus far raised $50,000. Proceeds from this event will benefit the construction of the Spitakashen Village School in the Martuni Region, Nagorno Karabakh.

On Tuesday, October 28, Calabrina Boyajian of Toronto, the bike ride’s volunteer director started off the bike ride from Monterey to Los Angeles, riding her bike alongside John Flaherty. Prior to the start of the ride, the parish priest of San Jose, Father Datev, along with a group of well wishers representing the Armenian Community of Monterey visited the Armenia Fund Bike Ride team and wished them success in their endeavor.

On the 5th day of the ride, Saturday, November 1, three more cyclists joined Calabrina and John; Vatche Soghomonian of Fresno and Saro Haroutiunian of New Jersey in Lompoc, and Adrian Parsegian in Santa Barbara. On the last day of the ride, from Ventura to Los Angeles, two more riders joined to complete the bike ride team – Vazgen Mazanians of Glendale and Raffi Bedrosyan of Toronto. A detailed daily log of the ride is available at www.armeniafund.org/bikeride.

On Sunday, November 2, 2008, the cyclists embarked on their final leg from Ventura to Los Angeles (112km) reaching their destination, the St James Armenian Church in Los Angeles.

At the entrance of the church court, the team received a warm welcome. Gor Mkhitarian and his band were playing live music in honor of the cyclists. Armenia Fund U.S. Western Region Executive Director Sarkis Kotanjian invited Calabrina Boyajian, to present the other riders and outline the nature and objective of the first ever Bike Ride. The band then honored the eldest rider, the 75 year old Vatche Soghomonian with a special song.

Ara Boyajian of Toronto, a member of the board of trustees of Armenia Fund International, stressed the significance of this first joint undertaking by the U.S. Western Region and Canadian (Toronto) affiliates, and on behalf of the Toronto chapter thanked Maria Mehranian, Chair of Armenia Fund U.S Western Region, Sarkis Kotanjian and Greg Boyrazian for their contribution to the success of the event. Boyajian thanked Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian for his support and personal interest in the event, as well as mobilizing the Armenian Community of Monterey to farewell the bike ride team, and making the St James Church available for the reception.

Mehranian praised the event and the commitment of the riders, and encouraged similar joint ventures among different Armenia Fund affiliates in support of humanitarian projects in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. She also announced that through the joint efforts of the two affiliates, $50,000 was raised and that further contributions were being accepted.

Father Arshag Khatchadourian gave a spirited speech congratulating the participants and the Armenia Fund in their efforts to help rebuild Armenia, and as a token of appreciation presented each rider on behalf of the Primate a book titled, "Divine Liturgy of the Armenian Apostolic Church".

On final count, 591km was traveled in six days during Armenia Fund’s first ever jointly organized Bike Ride, commencing in Monterey and ending in Los Angeles. This first initiative was a great success. Thanks to Armenia Fund’s Bike Ride team, the construction of the Spitakashen Village School in Martuni will begin in the spring of 2009 delivering much needed hope to the young children of the village.

Armenia Fund continues receiving donations for the Bike Ride. A video segment about the event will be featured during the Armenia Fund’s 11th International Telethon. Telethon 2008 will air live around the world for 12 hours on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 8:00am-8:00pm PST.

Armenia Fund, Inc., is a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation established in 1994 to facilitate large-scale humanitarian and infrastructure development assistance to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Since 1991, Armenia Fund has rendered more than $190 million in development aid to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Armenia Fund, Inc. is the U.S. Western Region affiliate of “Hayastan” All-Armenian Fund.

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