A big thanks to our sponsors, participants, supporters, and volunteers for making the 19th Annual Mary’s Walk and Kerrymen 5k a success! Despite having to move the event from March 19th to March 26th, we had over 2,600 participants and will raise in excess of $280,000 in the fight against cancer. All proceeds are donated to the Maine Cancer Foundation supporting statewide cancer programs and translational research.
Mary’s Walk enjoyed incredible fundraising team participation led by Team UNUM, who raised $15,000. Teri Brown of Team UNUM individually raised over $11,076. Incredible! Doug Bennet and the Red Storm Strikes Out Cancer was again the leading fundraiser in the school community group raising $10,501. In the Friends and Family category, the KJ Cancer Crew, led by individual fundraiser Ken Jansen and captained by wife Laurie Jansen, raised $8,475. This year’s event was dedicated to Ken Jansen, a long-time volunteer on the Mary’s Walk Planning Committee, who is fighting his own personal battle with esophageal cancer. Ken spoke during the opening ceremonies, inspiring everyone with his message of how important a positive attitude is to healing the cells that cancer scars.
I want to again personally thank Mark Stevens and Mike Hirschy of CRI-SIL Silicone Technologies for being our presenting sponsor ($20,000). Mark, Mike, and the CRI-SIL team have given the Mary’s Walk sponsorship campaign renewed vigor in the fight against cancer.
I also want to thank all of our sponsors you see posted on our web page. These businesses are an important part of Mary’s Walk and help lead our community in the fight against cancer. Please check out our sponsors and let them know on their websites how important you believe their contribution to the community is in the battle against cancer.
I wish to thank Thornton Academy for the use of their facility and their continued support of Mary’s Walk. I also want to recognize two teachers at the Academy: David Arenstam, the director of the Kerrymen 5k and our Facebook/Media genius, and his wife, Teri Arenstam, our director of volunteers, for their contributions to the event. This year we had over 150 TA students volunteering for Mary’s Walk and supporting their community.
We had a new member of the Planning Committee this year, Don Roth, who is the new director of the food court specializing in free food and drink after the event. Don undertook an overwhelming responsibility and did an excellent job in his inaugural year. Thanks Don!
Next year, Mary’s Walk and the Kerrymen 5k celebrate our 20th anniversary on March 18, 2018. We hope to see you there.
Challenge Cancer 2020 is our visionary initiative to cut cancer rates in Maine by 2020. Our goal for a Maine less burdened by cancer requires active participation from people and communities across the state. Our success depends on inviting key stakeholders to the table to share strategy, tactics, and experience.
Two years ago, in the middle of a coastal Maine summer, Stephanie Ferrie was training for a triathlon. An avid runner, she chalked up the slight changes in her body, including unusual discharge, as merely hormonal. Summer turned to fall and her symptoms persisted. As the whispers of her body grew louder, she finally made an appointment with her OB-GYN. A mother of four, Stephanie never had an abnormal pap smear or tested positive for HPV. “My doctor put the speculum in and saw a mass on my cervix, 3 centimeters, right there,” said Stephanie.
The biopsy revealed cervical cancer caused by HPV. Fortunately, the resulting PET scan showed the tumor was only in her cervix. The choice now turned to the course of treatment. Guided by a close friend who faced similar choices many years ago, Stephanie made the decision for a radical hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and cervix). The final pathology showed early metastasis to a lymph node in her groin, which resulted in an additional five low-dose chemotherapy sessions and 28 rounds of radiation. “[My friend] made me feel so good about it that I wasn’t even scared. Plus, my cervix was a pain with four kids anyway!” she joked.
The crisp fall air turned to the darkening days of winter and six weeks of treatment for cervical cancer. “It was all very surreal,” said Stephanie. After the hysterectomy, chemotherapy followed to desensitize cells in preparation for radiation. “Tuesdays were four hours of uninterrupted girlfriend time,” Stephanie reflected. “Every week [of chemotherapy] was just for me.”
We are currently accepting applications for two open grant areas: patient navigation and general operating grants.