WATERTOWN — On September 25, the Armenian community of New England will come together in support of the 10th annual Walk of Life of the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR). Every year the pan-Armenian event in Watertown draws youth participation, with large numbers of students from area schools and colleges. It also attracts the support of numerous community organizations and many public figures.
Established in 1999, ABMDR, a non-profit organization, helps save lives by recruiting and providing matched unrelated donors for bone marrow or stem cell transplantation to all Armenian and non-Armenian patients worldwide who are suffering from leukemia and other life-threatening blood related illnesses. Due to the unique genetic make-up of Armenians, it is nearly impossible to find suitable matches among the existing international registries. Hence the importance of establishing a registry that would help facilitate recruiting and identifying matched unrelated bone marrow donors.
Over the past 10 years, the Walk of Life in 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 (AAPA), Watertown Savings Bank, ThermOil, Inc., several other local businesses, the Armenia Tree Project, the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center (ACEC) and the AGBU New England District.
The walkathon’s opening ceremony will be held on the grounds of ACEC, on September 25 at 11am and will conclude at Faire on the Square, in Watertown Square, where participants will gather to celebrate the day’s achievements and enjoy great music, dancing, and food.
The funds raised at the walk and all other donations go a long way to ensure ABMDR stays loyal to its mission, by educating the public, recruiting donors and thus building a robust donor registry, and facilitating bone marrow stem cell transplants for patients worldwide.