PTGHUNK, Armenia and SEAL BEACH, Calif. — The Armenian Lighthouse Charitable Foundation (ALCF), the organization formerly known as Paros “Lighthouse” Charitable Foundation, cares for the sick and injured who are marginalized and often forgotten. As part of its community outreach initiative, called Husi Jerag (Light of Hope), ALCF has given the gift of mobility to dozens of disabled children and adults throughout Armenia. This vital assistance is made possible with donations of wheelchairs, walkers and other equipment from ALCF supporters in the US. ALCF collects all forms of gently-used medical equipment on a year-round basis, and has a long waiting list of disabled children and adults in need of immediate assistance.
One recent beneficiary of ALCF’s outreach is Susanna, age 50, from Yerevan. Susanna was paralyzed from the neck down following an automobile accident that claimed the life of her husband. The accident occurred when Susanna and her husband had just spent a weekend with their son in Tavush where he was serving in the army. Following the accident, she spent two years in the hospital recuperating from her injuries. When her son returned from the army, the pressure and stress of caring for an invalid parent become too overwhelming for him, and he refused to see her. With the exception of a cousin who came once a day to feed her, Susanna was stranded and utterly alone.
A few months ago, ALCF learned about Susanna’s plight from the doctor who is treating her. ALCF staff quickly took action and brought her an electric wheelchair designed specifically for paraplegics. They also spent time with Susanna training her to operate the new chair. Because of this wheelchair, Susanna has a renewed feeling of independence with the ability to ride around her home and venture outdoors.
Garine, age 12, has also received the gift of mobility from Armenian Lighthouse Charitable Foundation. Garine was a healthy, active, young girl with a bright future. Without warning, one day she began to lose strength and movement in her legs. While her doctors have not been able to diagnose the cause, Garine’s mobility has been compromised. She can only walk holding someone’s hand and sways unsteadily from side to side.
Recently, Garine and her mother visited ALCF’s center in Ptghunk, and Garine was given a walker. The next day, her mother returned asking if the foundation could also provide some type of equipment to help strengthen Garine’s legs. ALCF gave her an elliptical, and Garine uses it for her own physical therapy. In the meantime, ALCF is working with Garine and her family to determine the cause of her disability. Gagik, age 55, lives in the Gegharkunik region and is a war veteran. During the war, he lost both of his legs in battle. Since sustaining his injuries, Gagik has fashioned a car for himself to control the accelerator and brake pedals with his hands. On a recent visit to ALCF’s center, Gagik received an electric wheelchair.
Delighted with this new piece of equipment, he treated the staff of ALCF to cognac and chocolate. ALCF provides the maintenance on all the equipment that it donates to needy individuals.