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Wells cousins complete marathon to raise mental health awareness

Six of the Webb-Reidy cousins walked a marathon on May 17 to raise money for the local nonprofit Stay; For Life, founded after a community member died by suicide.

WELLS, Maine — It can be a big ask for a teenager or young person to wake up before the sun rises on a day when they don't have to board the bus for school. 

But on Wednesday, six of the Webb-Reidy cousins of Wells gathered around in the morning light of dawn by the ocean in Kennebunkport, lacing up their sneakers and stretching their hamstrings to prepare for a big day.

"It has been really good to kind of change it up this year and do something a lot more close to home that we all feel really passionate about," Mackenzie Webb, 20, said.

This is the fourth year the Webb-Reidy cousins have chosen to walk a full marathon from Kennebunkport to York. The first year, a few of them did it just for fun; but then, they started fundraising to support groups with missions that strike a chord. For this marathon, that beneficiary is the new, local nonprofit Stay; For Life

"They have really impacted the community a lot so far," Webb said.

Webb was the main organizer for this gargantuan walk. Her brother, Aidan, is close friends with Caden Gibson, who lost his younger brother, Trent, to suicide nearly a year ago. The boys' mother founded local nonprofit Stay; For Life in response to raising awareness about men's mental health. 

Webb said Trent's death impacted Aidan a lot. It's a reason she and her cousins wanted to raise money for Stay; For Life by going around to local businesses to ask for money and starting a fundraising page online. 

"I think it really means a lot to [my brother], just because he has been so close to everything that has happened," Webb said.

"It's definitely the worst kind of reality check, especially with men's mental health," Katie Reidy, 21, said. "We don't talk about it enough, and these are often the things no one sees coming."

Reidy said Wells is a tight-knit community, where every student knows every student. She said that kind of small-town feel means people band together in times of struggle, which is why she and her cousins took on this marathon challenge.

"We knew that our community needed support. We've always rallied together whenever there have been problems and things like this and tragedies in our community," Reidy said.

For Angela Stevens, this kind of support has been priceless. 

"It's incredible. These young ladies are just amazing," Stevens said.

Stevens said without help from her neighbors, it would have been much more difficult to get through the past 11 months without Trent.

"Going through this is hard, unfathomable. There aren't words for it," Stevens said. "At the same time, I think about all the support that I have from my friends; like I said, the community, everybody asking what they can do to help us."

For the Webb-Reidy cousins, it was an easy decision to lend a helping hand — or foot.

"It's always so worth it, especially when you're raising money for a cause that's this important to you. It's like, I could walk a marathon, if it means making a tiny difference," Reidy said.

Webb said she and her cousins have a goal of raising $10,000 for Stay; For Life. As of Wednesday morning, they were at about $5,000. You can donate here. You can also learn more about Stay; For Life here

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