Fresno Gears Up for First-Ever ABMDR Walkathon

At last year's walkathon

Fresno community rallies in support of Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, widens life-saving outreach effort

LOS ANGELES—For the first time in its history, the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry will hold a Walkathon in Fresno this month, in addition to its annual Walkathon in Los Angeles.

Walk of Life 2011 will be held in Fresno on Saturday, October 15, as well as in Glendale, California, on Saturday, October 22.

“This is an extraordinary turning point for our organization,” said Dr. Frieda Jordan, president of the ABMDR Board of Directors, as she commented on the Fresno Armenian community’s enthusiasm for hosting its own annual ABMDR Walkathon. “The Fresno Walkathon has been in the works for quite some time, and we’re all so very touched by the support of the entire community,” Dr. Jordan added.

Participating in the Fresno Walkathon will be a large number of local-community members as well as all of the area’s Armenian churches and organizations, including Armenian student associations. Moreover, the Walkathon is receiving considerable media attention, with several local newspapers and television stations planning to cover the event.

Participants can join the Walk in Fresno as either individuals or teams. They can sign up online (at abmdr.am) or in person on the morning of the Walkathon, between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. ABMDR is also encouraging virtual walkers: supporters who sign up online even if they’re unable to participate in the event.

The Fresno Walkathon will begin at the Eaton Plaza Amphitheater. Following a brief opening ceremony, participants will walk to the Statue of David of Sassoon at the Courthouse Park and on to the Saroyan Theater, and subsequently return to the starting point. A day-long, family-friendly celebration will follow at the Eaton Plaza Amphitheater, featuring music, food, and information/recruitment booths where participants will be able to join ABMDR as potential bone marrow donors.

“Working on the Fresno Walkathon has been an exceptionally rewarding experience,” stated Dr. Karoline Rostamiani, a member of the ABMDR Board of Advisors who co-chairs Walk of Life 2011 with fellow Board member Dr. Stella Baghdasarian. “What we’re specifically trying to achieve with the Fresno Walkathon is to help raise community awareness of leukemia, a devastating illness which claims so many lives every year,” Dr. Rostamiani continued. “Hence the critical importance of becoming a potential bone marrow stem cell donor — a very simple and noninvasive process which can well save the life of a fellow Armenian.”

Dr. Rostamiani said that the upcoming Glendale Walkathon is likewise earning unprecedented grassroots and corporate support. This year the popular community event has two major corporate sponsors: Lifelong ABMDR Supporter Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center; and, for the first time, California-based Karoun Dairies, Inc.

The Walk of Life event in Glendale, now in its sixth year, continues to draw the participation of all Armenian churches, community organizations, and Armenian student associations from throughout Los Angeles. The Walkathon is also endorsed by the City of Glendale and will once again receive extensive media coverage.

On the morning of October 22, the Glendale Walkathon will start at Glendale Memorial Hospital at 7:30 AM, with in-person registration followed by an opening ceremony. The 3K/6K Walk will conclude at the Verdugo Park, where a day-long community celebration will kick off. The festivities will feature food, live music performed by several renowned musicians, and information/recruitment booths.

As with the Fresno Walkathon, individuals and teams that wish to participate in the Glendale Walkathon can sign up at abmdr.am. Supporters can also sponsor family members or friends for participation in either event.

About the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry: Established in 1999, ABMDR, a nonprofit organization, helps 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 20,000 donors in 13 countries across three continents, identified 2,023 patients, found 1,700 potential matches, and facilitated 13 bone marrow transplants.

For more information, call (323) 663-3609 or visit the Web site.

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