At the age of 20, handsome Vardges Mkrtchyan was a systems defects analyst on the Soviet Railway because of his sharp hearing and distinct voice. More than 60 years later he cannot even utter his own name or hear a word after undergoing a laryngectomy. He also suffers from severe hearing loss. A widower, Vardges also lost two of his children and now lives at the Gyumri Atinizians Senior Center, his pension mostly spent on expensive medications. Now, because of a generous donor Vardges will have a better opportunity to communicate. Lianna Vanoyan Sarkissian was born in Shirak province but now lives in Washington, DC. She recently donated a digital speech device to FAR, after receiving Vardges’ delicately handwritten donation request. Lianna had purchased the item last year after her father underwent a laryngectomy. He passed away shortly after the surgery, however. Lianna, who recently traveled to Armenia, was there to witness Vardges’ tears as he opened this gift. His happiness brought her to tears, as well.
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