The family of Mari Alexanyan is shown with Dr. Chris Tashjian during his visit this year. (From left): Mari’s mother Lena Dallsanyan, her father Sevak Alexanyan, Dr. Tashjian and Mari being held by Sevak’s father. Notice the American Girl doll Mari is holding. She will be Mari’s travel companion throughout her journey. Photo courtesy of Milt Helmer
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RF doctor helps Armenian girl secure treatment

After more than a year of waiting,_an Armenian girl is now rescheduled to travel to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia on Oct. 23 for treatment of debilitating consequences of a knee infection early in life.

Dr. Chris Tashjian of River Falls first met Mari Alexanyan during one of his medical mission trips to Armenia._Armenia is a small country, about the size of Hawaii, nestled between Turkey, Iran, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Alexanyan was originally slated for the trip to the Shrine Hospital in 2020; however, COVID changed all that for this brighteyed young girl, now 6 years old.

Having to wait a year for treatment has caused her condition to worsen somewhat, but the hospital still accepted her. Tashjian will travel to Philadelphia to be with her during the start of her treatment at Shriners. He will stay in Philadelphia until a treatment plan is developed. Alexanyan and her mother do not speak English, so having a doctor there they know will help them make their adjustment to America.

Young Alexanyan has never left her country before, so there is a lot of fear involved in the trip. That fear will be eased by the good people at Shriners and Dr. Tashjian.

November 10, 2021