by Sevak Hakobyan

Svetlana Amiraghyan, a grandmother of 11, feels sad for the fact that her poor eyesight prevents her from helping her school-age grandchildren with their homework. One of her grandkids, Vahe, is now serving in the army, right on the border. And whenever family members go visit Vahe at his post, Mrs. Amiraghyan regrets that she’s unable to cook delicious foods for her soldier grandchild, likewise because she can’t see well.

“My grandson is serving in Mataghis, which is pretty far from Noyemberyan,” says the 72-year-old grandmother. “So far, he has visited us twice, and we’ve gone to see him too, but these days I rarely get out of the house and am unable to spend quality time with my grandkids, all because of my bad eyesight.”

Mrs. Amiraghyan had heard from neighbors that from October 16 to 21, doctors from Glendale Adventist Medical Center (GAMC) were to provide Tavush residents with free check-ups, medical care, and even surgeries at Noyemberyan Hospital, through a joint initiative of GAMC and Armenia Fund. At once she applied for and was granted an appointment for an eye surgery. On the day she was scheduled for the procedure, Mrs. Amiraghyan was taken to the hospital by her son. She hadn’t told Vahe about the surgery, so he wouldn’t worry about his grandma.

“I didn’t think it was something worth having my grandchild worry about,” Mrs. Amiraghyan recalls. “I thought it was nothing compared to the dangerous work entrusted to Vahe and his fellow soldiers, as day and night they maintain the peace on the border.”

“I couldn’t be more satisfied with the care shown by the medical staff,” Mrs. Amiraghyan says. “The doctors from America are extremely considerate and dedicated. As I’ve heard from so many other patients, everyone is happy that these wonderful doctors have been traveling such a great distance in order to provide us with free medical services.”

Residents from throughout Tavush and Lori have waited with great anticipation for the second annual Armenia Fund-GAMC medical mission to the Noyemberyan Hospital. And although often there are long lines of patients who come to receive treatment by the visiting doctors, Mrs. Amiraghyan doesn’t mind it a bit. “We understand that the doctors have their hands full, so everyone waits patiently for their turn. We’re confident that the doctors will get to see and treat every single patient.”

Renowned Armenian-American ophthalmologist surgeon Dr. Mireille Hamparian, who is a mother of four, performed Mrs. Amiraghyan’s surgery. The doctor had taken time off to cross thousands of miles and put her specialized skills at the service of her compatriots in Armenia.

The surgery was a total success. With her eyesight fully restored, Mrs. Amiraghyan has lost no time to start helping her grandkids with their homework, and to prepare sumptuous meals for Vahe and his comrades-in-arms.

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Photo Credit: Areg Balayan