By Nancy Kalajian
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
QUINCY, Mass. — On Memorial Day weekend, Isabella Boyajian, 3, sat in a borrowed trailer attached to her dad’s bike and rode from Cambridge to Lexington on the Minuteman Bike Path, all to benefit her peers in Armenia. Joining them were a dozen other bikers, many of whom have made repeated annual rides to support the Nish Boyajian Memorial Foundation whose mission is to help the children of Armenia.
The Bike-a-thon was started by Richard Boyajian of Quincy, a retired barber, nine years ago in memory of his brother, Nish, who died about 16 years ago from cancer. Since 2000, Boyajian has raised money for playgrounds and other school-related projects in Armenia, with a focus on rural schools.
After the Bike-a-thon, bikers and other supporters attended a traditional Armenian BBQ held at the home of Richard Boyajian near Wollaston Beach. About 100 people stopped by throughout the afternoon to enjoy the BBQ and support the cause. “It’s a great community activity and a great cause,” said Houry Youssoufian, a guest who has long supported the group’s mission. So far, more than $5,000 has been raised after this year’s bike-a thon.
“I ride every year and usually get my friends to join me. It’s a very reasonable bike ride. My uncle’s been doing it for years. Some of my cousins race to support my uncle and what he believes in,” shared Melissa Boyajian, hailing from the Lowell area. “I’ve been to Armenia three times; two times was with my uncle so I’ve helped him with this project as videographer (documenting the) before and after, and made a promotional video for the Foundation. The foundation is getting bigger and bigger every year. They really needed the help, with bad plumbing and terrible classroom facilities.”