WATERTOWN, Mass.—On Sat., Sept. 26, the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) will host its annual New England Walkathon. This Greater Boston fundraiser has become a tradition for the Armenian community. It brings individuals of all ages together for a common cause. The Walk of Life will benefit ABMDR, a non-profit organization that recruits unrelated bone marrow donors to match with patients suffering from life-threatening blood-related illnesses. Because of their unique genetic makeup, Armenians worldwide have a greater chance of finding a potential donor match in ABMDR than other international registries.
To date, the registry has recruited more than 27,000 stem cell donors in 24 countries across 4 continents, identified 3,000 patients, and facilitated 20 bone marrow transplants. “Walk of Life seeks to raise awareness of the ABMDR mission and provide much-needed funds for testing and cataloging swab samples,” said Dr. Jordan, president of ABMDR.
Walkers will follow a pleasant 45-minute route beginning at the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center (ACEC) at 47 Nichols Ave. The 2.2 mile journey leads to Watertown’s annual “Faire on the Square” festivities offering local food and baked goods, great music and dancing. In addition, the team and the individual who raise the most funds will receive an award recognizing their efforts.
The Walk of Life has attracted numerous community organizations, among them the Amaras Art Alliance, Armenian American Medical Association, Armenian American Pharmacists Association, Armenian Business Network, Armenian Cultural and Educational Center (ACEC), Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), AGBU Young Professionals, Friends of Armenian Cultural Society, Hamazkayin, St. James Armenian Church, St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School, Sayat Nova Dance Company, and YerazArt Foundation.
“We anticipate more college students to participate this year,” said Tatoul Badalian, communications coordinator, speaking on behalf of the organizing committee. Harvard University, Boston College, MIT, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Lexington High School, Watertown High School, and Belmont High School are among the clubs that have already registered for the walk.
Prospective participants can join one of the existing organizational teams, start their own team, or walk individually. As most of the $20 registration fee ($10 for 18 and under) only covers costs associated with organizing the event, walkers are encouraged to raise funds by finding sponsors among their families and friends.
To register for the walkathon, sponsor a walker, or for more information, visit www.abmdr.am/ne-walk.
Established in 1999, ABMDR, a non-profit 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.