In April and September of 2013, AmeriCares made two donations to our long-standing partner in Armenia – United Armenian Fund – of PET pedal carts valued at $6,250 that benefited several individuals across Armenia.
One of such beneficiaries is Garen Harutunyan, 38. When still 18 years old, young Garen volunteered to defend Armenian populated Nagorno-Karabagh in a tragic war that left Garen with a damaged spinal cord and inability to ever use his feet to walk.
Garen spent two years in a hospital. His wound was so severe that he was transferred to the International Red Cross Center for better treatment. For his bravery and dedication, Garen was presented with several medals and awards from the Armenia government. One special gift came about while Garen was at the Red Cross Center. There he met a nurse who was taking care of him. Both fell in love with each other and soon got married.
Now Garen, his wife and their two children, 16 year old son and 9 year old daughter, all live in a house that has a little garden Garen takes care of. “I always wanted to be able to grow things and feel myself capable of providing something to my family. Unfortunately, on a regular wheelchair those things were impossible to accomplish”, said Garen. “But now it all changed”.
Garen received a PET pedal cart from PET International and AmeriCares. Because of this new gift, Garen is now able to do things that seemed completely impossible before. He drives to his little garden all on his own. He carries his tools in a small trunk and transports seeds and harvest in there too. In addition, he enjoys simply riding his cart in the garden right after the rain to get some fresh air.
This new cart inspired Garen to start applying for a job. He realized he was mobile now. “I am sure I will be able to ride to my work – the cart is so light, fast and easy to navigate. It also keeps me in good shape and helps me stay physically active”.
Garen is extremely grateful to all the donors involved in this giving. He said, “I want to thank everyone again for the work they do by helping people, making their lives easier and giving them hope”.