photo: Nairy and some children in Armenia

Nairy Ghazourian, Country Director, Real Medicine Foundation – Armenia

Interviewed by Charles Case

I am in the home stretch of my training for the upcoming L.A. marathon’s Big 5K, and it is grueling. Training every other day, pushing myself to compete and succeed, feeling old injuries flare back up, I cannot help but ask myself, “Why am I running?”

The answer is clear: I am running to help the women and children in the small Armenian village of Shinuhayr.

The village of Shinuhayr is in one of the poorest parts of a poor country. Lacking basic medical services, the Real Medicine Foundation (RMF) has stepped in to provide primary health and child-maternal health for the people of the village. This clinic also serves women and children in the seven surrounding villages. In 2010 RMF helped vaccinate a total of 504 children. Also, we aim at educating parents about the importance of vaccinations in order to help them in make healthier “health” decisions for themselves and their children.

As challenging, and sometimes painful, as training for a run can be, I ask myself what is my pain compared to the suffering of an Armenian child like Daniel? In December 2010, RMF assisted Daniel, a 2-year-old boy, with his transportation, hospitalization and medication after he suffered fourth degree burns on his back and lower part of his body. Daniel comes from a very poor family of six and the parents have no work.  Their sole source of income is the $100 they receive per month from the state.

I feel the same passion and urgency to help when I think of another heartbreaking story from the same region of Armenia.  Currently, we are intervening with an 11-year-old little girl who is unable to walk and must endure agonizing pain due to scoliosis and deformation of her spine. There are medical procedures that could significantly improve her condition, but they are extremely expensive and her family is unable to afford any treatment. RMF is looking into helping this little girl gain wellness. However, the initial phase of her treatment costs $3,000.

I want to help this girl with a passion that stirs my blood, and I will take this enthusiasm with me when I run this weekend.  And I hope my commitment to her future becomes so contagious that it inspires an army of ambassadors to take up the cause of helping her and Daniel and the other children of Armenia.

RMF is helping these children, and many more around the world. However, this type of deep and lasting assistance is costly and we can only provide it by raising funds with events like this.  So for me, when I ask myself the question “Why am I running?” I don’t have to search very far the answer. The better question is “Why aren’t YOU running?”

So, lace up. Let’s run to raise money for RMF and to give the children of Shinuhayr a chance at a better life!

To make a donation to the RMF Armenia through Nairy’s LA Marathon fundraising please go here.

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

To make a general donation to our LA Marathon Athletes for Real Medicine team please visit our fundraising page on Crowdrise here

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