The Real Medicine Foundation’s (RMF) motto of “Friends Helping Friends” is given a new twist by Ossig Tertarian as she prepares to compete in the L.A. Marathon. For her, it’s a case of sons helping mothers in order to help friends in need.

photo: Ossig

A dance instructor of Armenian heritage, Ossig is just days away from the biggest run of her life, the 26.2 miles of the Los Angeles Marathon as part of RMF’s Athletes for Real Medicine–Team Armenia. Supporting RMF’s outreach in Armenia is “something dear to my heart,” says Ossig. “If we could save more people, get medical aid to people in Armenia, help even one person, what a difference that would make.” And to make that difference an even more powerful one, Ossig decided that her fourteen-year old son, Vahan, should run the Marathon too, and be side-by-side with her when she reaches the finish line. So just this morning she went onto the RMF website and signed Vahan up to run for Team Armenia.  “We can make a difference together,” she says.

Joining Vahan and Ossig in the Marathon, and in the Big 5K held the day before, will be a score of other runners fielded by RMF, all demonstrating their dedication to the Foundation’s work in Armenia and around the globe.

photo: Ara Messerlian

One of these Athletes for Real Medicine is Ara Messerlian. “The 5K run on behalf of Team Armenia is a great way to be part of a great cause, helping people back home acquire the basic necessities they need to survive,” says Ara.  “I’m also looking forward to the exercise and the team camaraderie. “

For Nora Boghossian, running in the Big 5K, this is an ideal moment to marry many passions. “I’ve been running for a long time. It’s a part of my life. Running for Team Armenia is a perfect match. I love to run. I love to help people. It’s a no brainer.”

photo: Nora Boghossian

Nora gets that extra push to take it across the line with memories of a trip made to Armenia where she witnessed poverty at its most tragic. Nora met a poor family in a rural village with a daughter suffering from cerebral palsy. The child was in clear need of medical attention. Frustrated that she was unable to help the little girl in that moment, Nora was pleased to identify RMF upon her return to the States as a charity working in Armenia that truly delivers its dollars to the people most in need.

photo: Shant Minas

Like Nora, Shant Minas fuels his drive to complete those 26. 2 marathon miles with the thought of helping others.  That’s a long stretch, but with his military background, and his passion to raise money for RMF, Shant is ready and able to go the distance. Long committed to charitable outreach to Armenia, Shant has seen the hard face of Armenian poverty in areas “one hundred years behind the rest of the world.” With so much work to be done, Shant is prepared to finish the race, no matter what it takes. “One way or another I’ll stumble through,” he says with a laugh. “I’m so glad to be helping RMF.”

photo: Ani Manukyan

Ani Manukyan strongly agrees.  She was born in Armenia and upon returning to her birthplace saw up-close the terrible human need that RMF is working to address. Next Saturday she will be participating in the Big 5K. She tells herself that in those moments when life starts to overwhelm her she must remember those who truly suffer and “stay strong” for them. “Stay strong and keep going. That’s what I tell myself when I wake up at 6 a.m. to train. Keep going.”

It’s the mantra for RMF-Armenia’s Team, as they run to help those in need: “Keep going!”

More information about the Athletes for Real Medicine team can be found on it’s Facebook page here or the page on the Real Medicine website page here

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