Sporting yellow T-shirts with photos of six local Armenians in need of bone marrow transplants, volunteers at this year’s walkathon to benefit the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry scurried about Saturday morning getting ready for the Glendale event, which had about 500 participants — 100 more than last year, according to organizers.
The sixth annual walk, which creates awareness about bone marrow diseases and encourages people to donate, had more youth participants than ever before, said Frieda Jordan, a biochemist and founder of the registry.
Students came from several area schools and colleges such as UCLA, USC, CSUN and Glendale Unified, joining other participants as they walked from Glendale Memorial Hospital to Verdugo Park.
There are about 19,000 patients on the registry awaiting transplants, Jordan said, though not all of them are Armenian. The registry, founded in 1999, currently has about 22,000 prospective donors, up from 20,000 last year.
Jordan explained that many ethnic subgroups such as Armenians have difficulty finding matching donors because they are unique genetically and don’t often marry outside their ethnicity.