13th Annual Mary’s Walk and Kerrymen Pub 5K Slated for March 13, 2011 | Events

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13th Annual Mary’s Walk and Kerrymen Pub 5K Slated for March 13, 2011

Saco, Maine (March 2, 2011) – When Gene Libby called Karen Hakala on January 13 to ask her to participate in Mary’s Walk, she remembered the fifth anniversary of her diagnosis with breast cancer – on January 13, 2006. March 13, 2011 marks the 13th anniversary of Mary’s Walk. “I used to think of 13 as an unlucky number,” said Hakala. “Now I see it as my lucky number.” She will speak at the opening ceremony for the event and is forming a team to walk.
Hakala, vice president of marketing for Norway Savings Bank, describes herself as a “poster child for mammography.”  Six months after finding a “small speck” on her mammogram, a follow-up showed three lumps. “Screening saves lives.  …  Cancer is not discriminating.  I was very active and still am. Before learning I had cancer, I had run a six mile loop every day since high school,” said Hakala.
“I will not be cancer.   I can choose to do that, or to move forward,” she added. “Cancer brings out the best in people. Whether you’ve had cancer yourself, or have a loved one, family member, co-worker, at that moment when you learn the diagnosis, it brings out strength, love and care. It’s wonderful to know there’s a community event every year to bring together those affected by cancer, to learn about a group who honor Mary every year. I’m so proud to be part of this event.”
Hakala will celebrate the fifth anniversary of being cancer-free by participating in a triathlon for the Roberts Farm Preservation Land Trust in Norway in July. In addition she has participated in the Buddy-to-Buddy program sponsored by WCSH and Bennett Breast Care Center, and has run the Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society.
Mary’s Walk is a tribute to Mary Kerry Libby who lost her courageous battle with cancer in 1997.  She was just 44.  Mary was a beloved mother, wife, sister, daughter and friend, and a strong supporter of her community.  Mary’s Walk and the Kerrymen Pub 5K began in 1998 as a way to remember Mary by supporting all Maine people living with cancer and their families.   What began as a 427 person stroll through town has evolved into a major community happening, attracting an estimated 20,000 or more participants during its twelve year span.  In 2010, Mary’s Walk and the Kerrymen Pub 5K raised $226,000 for the Maine Cancer Foundation, bringing the total amount raised since its inception to over $1.4 million. 
You can honor those affected by cancer by participating in Mary’s Walk and the Kerrymen Pub 5K Run on Sunday, March 13.  The walk starts from Linnell Gym at Thornton Academy at 12:15 pm, and the 5K run begins at 12 noon at Kerrymen Pub on Main Street in Saco.  Anyone touched by cancer will appreciate being part of this inspirational day. This year’s goal is $250,000, so bring your friends and family or organize a company team to walk or run as a group. The event benefits the Maine Cancer Foundation; all proceeds fund research and patient support in Maine. 
Preregistration is required by March 4 to qualify for an event T-shirt.  The first 1,500 pre-registered walkers and the first 1,200 pre-registered runners will receive free t-shirts. For more information, or to preregister by March 4, visit www.maryswalk.org.   For more information about Maine Cancer Foundation, please visit www.mainecancer.org  or in Maine, call 1-866-627-2411. Out of state call (207) 773-2533.