Community Gathers for Annual Mary's Walk

Despite the blustery weather, people from all walks of life gathered at Thornton Academy in Saco on Sunday to retrace the steps of Mary Kerry Libby, who walked the route almost every day. A much-loved local woman, Mary lost her battle to cancer 25 years ago.

To stay warm, people huddled together in tight-knit groups and wrapped their frozen fingers around cups of hot chocolate. Between smiles and tears, they reminisced about the loved ones they’d lost to cancer: Parent’s, siblings, friends and other family members. 

It didn’t matter that the wind hurt their faces. The impact of cancer had hurt so much more. 

Many had experienced the loss of a loved one — or two, or three — to cancer. Some had survivor stories of their own. All of them carried the heavy sorrow of these tribulations with them to Mary’s Walk, and turned their grief into something deeply powerful. 

There was a palpable energy to the crowd when the event officially began. With one foot in front of the other, they flowed in unison down Main Street. 

Step by step, they did the only thing required to be a participant: They kept moving forward. Just as they had to when faced with a terrifying diagnosis, or with the news that their loved one was sick. They moved forward through the bitter cold knowing they weren’t alone in their grief.

It’s this experience of camaraderie that makes you feel like anything is possible, and serves as a stark reminder that our lives are interwoven through the fabric of shared experience.

Like frozen fingers on hot chocolate mugs, empathy wrapped itself around the crowd and reminded our community that coming together can enact the most powerful change and inspire people from all walks of life.