The Real Medicine Foundation hosted Journey to Armenia on June 12, a photography exhibit fundraiser with proceeds going to help “raise the roof” of the foundation’s newest project: a primary care facility in Shinuhayr, one of poorest areas in Armenia’s Syunik region.
To call the event simply a success seems a bit limited. After crunching the numbers, 14 photographs were sold and close to $20,000 was raised, enough to begin construction on the roof of a crumbling Soviet building that houses the clinic. Then again, there are still funds coming in which speak to how far reaching and touching the event came to be.
“News of the event traveled everywhere,” says Nairy Ghazourian, RMF Country Director in Armenia, “I am still getting calls and emails from people about the event and the cause—things are moving, people are interested.”
There is no way to know how things are going to go before hand but when someone calls from Paris to purchase a photograph the night of and then a few days later you get a phone call from a friend in Armenia saying you look good on Television, you know you did something right.
This is not exactly a new phenomenon for Real Medicine, a network that aims for lasting change built on lasting relationships. “Friends helping friends” is not just a slogan but how RMF actually operates, says Yolanda Parker, more commonly known as Cookie, a Real Medicine Board Member, “The diversity of people who share RMF’s vision and are willing to help is amazing. You could see it at the event to raise funds to build a primary care clinic in Armenia. People from all walks of life, from all socio-economic groups, from all age groups, and from all nationalities were there to support RMF and the people of a town in Armenia that most had never heard of. But because we were there as friends helping friends, we all became Armenians that night.”
Even people who had never worked with Real Medicine before came away with a similar feeling. “I was deeply moved by the fact that the Foundation’s A Journey to Armenia fundraising event attracted so many non-Armenians,“ said Vice Consul, Sahak Sargsyan. “It was really impressive to learn about an organization that changed lives of so many people in such a short period of time throughout the world,” he continues, “Real Medicine is a great team of enthusiastic and dedicated individuals who are ready to help people wherever they are and whatever it takes.”
The list of people to thank for their participation is expansive at best: the incredible photographers Sara Anjargolian, Vahe Dala, Sevag Vrej who generously donated their work to promote the cause; the celebrities and honored dignitaries such as actor Ken Davitian (Borat, Get Smart), Very Reverend Bartev Gulumian from the Western Prelacy and Father Khajag Shabazian from the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, Honorary Consul from the Consulate General of Lebanon in Los Angeles, Madonna Aoun Ghazal and Dr. Joseph Ghazal, and the Vice Consul of Armenia, Sahak Sargsyan who gave their time to come to support the cause; the A&I Gallery who gave their space and helped us print and frame the photos And, of course, the Real Medicine team who worked so hard to put the event together and is still working hard to get construction started: Jack Hileman & Roxanne Huddleston, Darren Hereford, Carly Panchura, Nairy Ghazourian, Talia Tanielian, Tamar Sinanian, Serli Polatoglu, Lisa Vacca, and Claudia Nieto. Karine Chakarian.
A special thank you goes to Karine Chakarian who was truly in the eye of the storm for this event and it is her vision, passion, and drive that has made Journey to Armenia what is was and what it still is, a night and a cause to remember.
There are still some photographs available for purchase. In the future there are plans to hold another smaller VIP sale for the remainder of the pieces but in the meantime, please visit http://www.itsmyseat.com/RMF.html and click “Tickets and Photos.” If you would like more information about upcoming events benefiting the clinic in Shinuhayr please contact Nairy Ghazourian at [email protected]
For more information, or to make a donation, please visit www.realmedicinefoundation.org