PORTLAND, Maine — Fighting cancer isn't an easy battle for anyone — especially kids. That's why Mainers are trying to make it clear they're not alone in their journey.
The 35th annual Maine Children's Cancer Program walk took place on Saturday, Sept. 17, in Portland. It started at Payson Park with free vendor tents and a short ceremony. Organizers said between 400 and 500 people showed up in person. They said another hundred or so participated virtually, either because they were uncomfortable being in-person because of COVID-19 or because they live far away.
This was the first year the walk has happened in person since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.
"We have former patients, current patients; our clinic staff is here," Grace Jandro, philanthropy manager for the MCCP, said. "For them to all be able to come together and make those connections again is just something that is indescribable and incredible to witness."
One of the families there on Saturday was mother Bridget Murphy and her 10-year-old daughter, Adelynn Moody, of Harpswell. Murphy said Adelynn was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia five years ago when she was just five years old. The cancer came back in March of 2020, but Murphy said Adelynn has been in remission now for a couple of months.
Adelynn designed the T-shirts that participants wore Saturday. They depict superheroes climbing a mountain. It's a metaphor Murphy said a lot of families dealing with similar challenges can relate to.
"I love the theme this year of superheroes," Murphy said. "It's pretty cool because all of these children are superheroes. It's really nice to be back together."
Jandro said the MCCP's goal this year was to raise $100,000. As of Saturday afternoon, they had just passed the $96,000 mark.