The fact that life can change in a moment is something Beverly Hills resident Karén Setian knows all too well. Thirteen years ago, Setian’s son, Vahagn, a 17-year-old Beverly Hills High School student, was killed in a drunk driving accident after choosing to ride with an intoxicated adult behind the wheel.
Channeling grief into purpose, Setian has spent the past years helping young people make good choices through the Vahagn Setian Charitable Foundation. On Sunday morning, Dec. 1, the charity’s largest (and only) fundraiser, the Vahagn Setian Memorial Run, will return to Beverly Hills for its ninth year–this time with rockers Steve Cooke and Frank DeVille performing Led Zeppelin hits throughout the race. Entry is free, although donations are welcome. Prizes for winners include a stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel and a Petrossian caviar dinner.
“At the end of the day, my message is to make sure they can come and learn what happened,” Setian said of his desire to have as many student participants as possible. “It’s not about my pain, it’s about the lives we can save.”
A key supporter of the powerful “Every 15 Minutes” program at BHHS, which first began less than two years after Vahagn’s death, the foundation’s mission is to help young people build healthy and productive lives, one decision at a time. The foundation also provides annual scholarships to select BHHS students who make wise decisions, in addition to purchasing musical instruments for students in honor of Vahagn, who played the guitar, saxophone and piano, and was in the BHHS band. With no salaried employees, Setian said all donations made to the foundation go directly back to the community and all contributions to the foundation are tax-deductible.
Onsite registration begins at 7:30 a.m. in the lower section of the Police Department’s outdoor “boat court,” with the 5K beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the northeast corner of Rexford Drive just south of N. Santa Monica Boulevard.
For information, to make a donation or to register, visit VahagnFoundation.org.