LOS ANGELES–Armenia’s and non-Armenia’s alike rallied together on Saturday–July 29 in the First Annual 5k/10k Walk/Run around the Pasadena Rose Bowl to help raise awareness in support of further expanding the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry’s critical life-saving mission to recruit more Armenian bone marrow donors. In addition to raising needed funds and awareness through the Walk of Life–100 new donors signed up.
"We are thrilled with the spirit of giving and life expressed through the overwhelming participation in our first annual ‘Walk of Life’," said Dr. Freida Jordan–President of the ABMDR based in Los Angeles. "We are also greatly appreciative of all our sponsors and the organizational and individual support that made the first Walk a resounding success and will enhance our ability to fulfill our life-saving mission." Corporate sponsors included Glendale Memorial Hospital–St. Josephs Hospital–Closet World–Next Day Color Printing–Glendale Water and Power–City of Los Angeles and GNC.
A key method of treating leukemia patients or people with other life-threatening blood diseases is through bone marrow/stem cell transplants. In order to treat Armenian patients–bone marrow transplants require compatible tissue types that match the genetic makeup of the patient which is most likely to come from other Armenian donors. There are currently 630 patients throughout the Diaspora and Armenia who are desperately waiting to find a matching donor to help save their lives. On average–it takes 200 donors to find a precise match for one patient. The Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry has a goal to increase its registry from the current 11,000 donors to 126,000 in order to meet the critical need. The ABMDR partners closely with Glendale Memorial Hospital and St. Josephs Hospital in addition to being a member of global organizations such as the World Marrow Donor Association and World Marrow Donor Worldwide
"By simply walking today–you are helping save a life" said Steve Artinian–chairman of the Walk of Life organizing committee. "With this Walk we hope you will spread the message that by taking the simple step of signing up with the registry every Armenian can give the most precious gift of a second chance to another fellow Armenian who is fighting for their life against these destructive diseases."
Special guests included Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian–Prelate of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America–Father Dajad Yardemian–representative of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America–Dr. Sevak Avagyan Executive Director of ABMDR in Armenia and Varant Melkonian–CEO of Closet World and treasurer of the ABMDR. There was also entertainment at the end of the walk. Welcoming the participants at the finish line was the band Element and singer Mariette Soujian.
"The Walk of Life is a huge success today because of all the hard work and dedication of our volunteers," said master of ceremonies and director of operations for the Walk Taleen Khatchadourian at the post-Walk event. "If we join together like this for our common mission we can make a big difference in the lives of Armenian patients in need."
During the short program after the Walk–the family of Biurad Moghadasian–who is an eight-year old Armenian patient currently at Los Angeles’ Children’s Hospital being treated for leukemia–approached organizers to stress the urgency of the ABMDR’s mission using their son’s plight as an example. The family made a plea to all present to recruit additional bone marrow donors which is the only way her son and others like him will have a chance at beating the disease. Biurad is currently looking for a matching donor to help save his life.
The Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry encourages all Armenia’s to call and join the registry with the hope of saving another life. The registration process is very simple and non-intrusive and only takes a few minutes. ABMDR is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and welcomes donations of any size which are tax-deductible.