WATERTWON—Supporters from throughout New England on September 23 converged on Watertown to take part in the 12th annual Walk of Life of the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry. Every year, the celebrated pan-Armenian event draws enthusiastic youth participation, with numerous students from area schools and colleges. The walkathon is also supported by local organizations, businesses, and community leaders.
Since its inception 12 years ago, Walk of Life New England has received support and sponsorship from several large and small businesses, including PROMETRIKA, LLC, of Cambridge; the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; the Armenian-American Pharmacists’ Association; Watertown Savings Bank; ThermOil, Inc.; and Armenian Women’s Welfare Association; as well as the Armenia Tree Project, Amaras Art Alliance, St. James Charles Mosesian Cultural and Youth Center, Suphi Furs, Waverly Oaks Athletic Club, and the Armenian Museum of America.
At the opening ceremony of the walkathon, which took place on the grounds of the Charles Mosesian Center, Shant Der Torossian of the ABMDR New England Walkathon Organizing Committee welcomed the participants. “Once again, we’re touched to see many community organizations and individuals that have come together today to participate and collaborate for this walkathon,” Der Torossian said. “Some of you have been with us since day 1. A big thank-you to those who assisted with promoting this event among their co-workers, friends, and family. We couldn’t do this without you!”
Der Torossian conveyed the Walkathon Organizing Committee’s gratitude to St. James Armenian Apostolic Church, Pastor Arakel Aljalian, and Yn. Natasha for generously hosting the commencement of this year’s walkathon. Der Torossian went on to acknowledge Rubina Varjabedian, who has served as the treasurer for the New England ABMDR Committee for years, as the recipient of the ABMDR 2023 Volunteer of the Year Award. “Rubina Varjabedian and her family have been among the very first volunteers of ABMDR New England,” Der Torossian said. “We appreciate their support and dedication to ABMDR.”
Young Telo Ghazarians, Salpy Yeterian, and Miganush Stepanians of PROMETRIKA, LLC were awarded the Gold, Silver, and Bronze top-fundraiser awards, respectively. For the 11th consecutive year, the Armenia Tree Project will plant commemorative trees in Armenia in honor of the walkathon winners, as part of the #LivingCentury Initiative.
Commenting on the significance of the event, Der Torossian extended the Walkathon Organizing Committee’s appreciation to the event’s sponsors for their continued support year after year. Der Torossian also brought the participants’ attention to sponsor logos and names on their T-shirts. He said, “Funds raised through the walkathon and all other donations go a long way in ensuring that ABMDR is able to continue to fulfill its mission, by educating the public, recruiting donors, and facilitating bone marrow stem cell transplants for patients throughout the world.”
Prior to the start of the walkathon, participants held a moment of silence in honor of fallen soldiers in the Armenian homeland, and for all those who were displaced from Artsakh.
The walk concluded at Saltonstall Park in Watertown Square, where participants celebrated the day’s achievements and enjoyed great music and food, along with those attending the annual Faire on the Square festival.
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 33,500 donors in 44 countries across four continents, identified over 9,000 patients, and facilitated 40 bone marrow transplants. For more information, call (323) 663-3609 or visit the ABMDR website.