Mackenzie Webb and her cousins, Katie Reidy and Sarah Webb, told me they traveled quite a distance last Saturday, May 21: from the Colony Hotel area and St. Ann’s Episcopal Church on Ocean Avenue to Kennebunkport to Nubble Lighthouse on Sohier Park Road in York.
I tried to do a quick calculation of that distance in my head as Mackenzie, Katie and Sarah sipped their coffee and tea during my interview with them at Mornings in Paris in Kennebunk on Monday.
“How many kilometers is that?” I finally asked.
Mackenzie was quick and precise in her response.
“26.2 miles,” she said.
Ah. I smiled. So she was literal when she emailed me at the Coast Star last week and let me know that she and her two cousins, all from Wells, were going to be walking their “third marathon”. I had thought she used the word “marathon” loosely, as people like me sometimes do. The long meetings I attend or the slow movies I watch often feel like marathons, for example.
But no: the three cousins plotted a course along the local coast, staying as close to the ocean as possible, down to the last fifth of a mile. They often had a cool spring breeze at their backs as they walked, but they had something much more inspiring to keep them going, especially when they reached that 17-mile mark – the point at which they said they could really feel the aches and pains of their journey.
For the second year in a row, Mackenzie, Katie and Sarah completed this route to raise money for Camp Sunshine, the Casco-based getaway on Lake Sebago that provides “respite, recreation and support” for children with life-threatening illnesses. The camp, offered year-round, is free and has been fulfilling its mission to help children and families since 1984, according to its website.
Last year, Mackenzie, Katie and Sarah raised $1,522 for their cause, surpassing their goal of $1,000. According to website chronicle their efforts.
Mackenzie said she discovered Camp Sunshine when she was affiliated with Rent-A-Princess, which is part of the Maine Dance Center in Raymond, Maine. She and others once dressed up as Disney Princesses and visited the camp to brighten the children’s day.
“I really liked what they had to do,” Mackenzie said.
Sarah was also familiar with Camp Sunshine, as she has relatives who went there once.
In an email Wednesday, Michael Katz, the executive director of Camp Sunshine, expressed his gratitude to the fundraising trio.
“Camp Sunshine is so grateful to Mackenzie, Kate and Sarah for taking on this challenge once again,” Katz said. “Their support and efforts over the past two years continue to be greatly appreciated and help move our mission forward.”
This may be the second year the cousins have walked this marathon to raise money for Camp Sunshine, but this is actually their third year making the trek from Kennebunkport to York. This first year, 2020, they’ve driven all those miles just to push back the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic and get outside, exercise, and have fun in the outdoors.
What does it take to make such a long journey on foot?
“You must really enjoy each other’s company,” Katie said, prompting laughter from the other two. “You have to know how to be silent. »
Last weekend’s walk allowed the cousins to finally catch up after a year at college. Mackenzie attended the University of New England, where she majored in exercise science and minored in business administration and nutrition. Katie attends Springfield College, where she is majoring in Health Sciences and minoring in Disability Studies. Sarah attends Lasell University, where she is majoring in Global Studies with a minor in Spanish.
The three cousins posted photos of their hike on social media, and some who walked past them and knew what they were doing honked their horns in support. Their parents met them at certain points along the way and gave them snacks. They stopped for dinner at Forbes in their hometown.
They took their first step into the misty morning around 7 a.m. They arrived at York Lighthouse more than ten hours later, smiling and triumphant, sore and exhausted and with blisters on their feet. Do not worry. They were driven home.
As they walked on Saturday, Mackenzie, Sarah and Katie checked their cellphones to see how their fundraiser was going. They crossed their $5,000 finish line just as they were about to cross their actual finish line in York – a final donation of $61 put them over the top. During their talk on Monday, all three expressed their gratitude to those who donated, including a number of local businesses that sponsored them.
Sarah said she has enjoyed seeing the progress the marathon fundraising has made in just two years.
“It was a last minute thing last year, and we were still able to get a fair amount of donations,” she said. “It was really cool to watch him grow and the impact he has.”
“It’s crazy that it was our little idea, and now it’s very dear to our hearts,” she said. “It’s good to see that three people can make a difference. If three other people can see that and say, “Oh, I can make a little difference too,” that’s how change happens. »
Shawn P. Sullivan is an award-winning columnist and reporter for the York County Coast Star. He can be contacted at [email protected]