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Marathoners brave weather to benefit Armenia, Japan

Published: Wednesday March 30, 2011

LOS ANGELES – On March 20, more than 30 Athletes for Real Medicine braved torrential rains and unseasonably cold temperatures to participate in the L.A. Marathon and raise $22,000 for Real Medicine Foundation, a non-profit organization providing humanitarian aid in disaster and poverty-stricken areas.

Four of the marathon runners came from the Armenian community to raise funds specifically for Real Medicine Foundation?s programs in Armenia. Another seven Armenian runners joined "Team Armenia," participating in Big 5K run on March 19.

"It was like running in a hurricane!" says Shant Minas, who ran the marathon with his sister Baleny, both U.S. armed forces veterans. "It was well worth it, though, to raise money for the work Real Medicine Foundation does in Armenia as well as their relief efforts in Japan."

Team Armenia designated 50% of the $5000 they raised to Real Medicine’s relief efforts in Japan, where the organization is collaborating with JEN (Japanese Emergency NGO) to work directly on the ground in the tsunami and earthquake affected areas of northern Japan, providing food, water, blankets and medical supplies.

The remainder of the funds will go toward Real Medicine Foundation’s work in Armenia where they focus on primary health and child-maternal health in the village of Shinuhayr in southern Syunik province, the location of their primary clinic, and the surrounding seven villages.

Programs include childhood vaccinations, parental education on health decisions, ambulance services, free medication distribution, and providing assistance to children facing severe health crises.

Team Armenia designated as a beneficiary an eleven year-old girl from a village near Shinuhayr, suffering from severe scoliosis and deformation of her spine that has kept her from walking. Some of the money raised will go toward her initial treatments and help ease her pain and get her on the road to recovery so that she may one day walk.

This kind of personal connection to the children of Armenia is what kept runners like Ossig Terterian going, despite the terrible weather. Terterian ran with her son Vahan, wearing hats embroidered with the numbers "41" and "14" to designate their respective ages.

During her short rest stop at Real Medicine Foundation’s cheering booth at mile 22, Ossig broke down in tears.

"I never thought I had the potential to run 26.2 miles, especially in such weather," she explained.

In addition to running for Real Medicine Foundation, Ossig was running to give hope and courage to her mother who is battling stage 4 cancer.

"It’s a great personal accomplishment made even better because of the people we can help through Real Medicine Foundation."

Real Medicine Foundation (, a 501©(3) registered non-profit organization based in Los Angeles, provides humanitarian support to people living in disaster and poverty stricken areas. RMF believes that "real" medicine is focused on the person as a whole, including medical/physical, emotional, economic and social support.

RMF’s unique approach to humanitarian relief involves partnering with local groups wherever they are to ensure that the clinics and solutions it creates will be sustainable long after the public spotlight has moved on.

Real Medicine’s CEO and Founder Dr. Martina Fuchs was recently honored by Lifetime as one of Lifetime’s Remarkable Women for the work she and her organization have been doing around the world.

RMF currently has clinics and projects around the world, including Armenia, Haiti, Peru, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda, the United States, and more. Visit for complete listings of RMF’s projects.

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