Dave McHugh, center, poses with, from left, Link Erskine, Denise Payette-Holmes, McHugh’s son Joe and Peter Wildes, at Fenway Park on July 11. In 1973, Dave McHugh, along with three friends, did a charity walk from South Portland to the park to raise money for the Jimmy Fund. On Sunday, four of the original walkers’ children finished re-creating the event, raising an anticipated $40,000 for the cancer research fund. Contributed / MIchelle Erskine

After five days of walking more than 100 miles, the Fenway for Our Fathers fundraiser that started in South Portland ended on Sunday at Fenway Park in Boston, raising $40,000 for the Jimmy Fund.

“It was quite a walk,” said Peter Wildes. “We had a great time doing it.”

Wildes, along with Denise Payette-Holmes, Link Erskine and Joe McHugh, walked from South Portland to Fenway, a distance of about 110 miles, starting on Tuesday, July 6 and finishing at the park on Sunday, July 11. The group, which grew up together in South Portland, we re-creating a charity event their fathers — Norm Payette, Wilbur Wildes, Ge Erskine, and Dave McHugh — did in 1973.

The original trek raised $18,000 for the Jimmy Fund, a cancer research fund affiliated with the Boston Red Sox and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Peter Wildes said the initial goal this summer was to raise $20,000, but this week, he said once all donations are processed via a dedicated website and social media, the group expects to have raised just over $40,000.

“The fundraising was incredible,” he said.

Katherine Bahrawy, senior assistant director of event fundraising for the Jimmy Fund, praised volunteer fundraising events such as Fenway for Our Fathers this week.

“Grassroots fundraising is in our DNA,” she said. “Every dollar given makes a powerful difference because it’s not a single act—it’s part of a movement and an entire community of supporters that collectively adds up to something big. Each donation, regardless of the size, provides cancer patients with compassionate care and keeps Dana-Farber at the forefront of cancer science.“

Peter Wildes said the foursome walked an average of 10-12 miles a day, with Friday being a shorter day due to torrential rains.

Charity walkers, from left, Peter Wildes, Link Erskine, Denise Payette-Holmes and Joe McHugh wait in the staging area by Gate E at Fenway Park in Boston on July 11, just after completing a 110-mile walk from their hometown, South Portland, to the park to raise money for the Jimmy Fund. The event was a re-creation of a similar grassroots effort their fathers did in 1973. Contributed / Michelle Erskine

“I’d call it ‘rugged,'” he said.

He said the group spent their nights sleeping at a friend’s condo, a campground and a hotel. Link Erskine also gave credit to John Cushing, the group’s longtime friend who served as a driver, bringing them water and food during the walk, and Tom Hill, Joe McHugh’s brother-in-law, who also raised money by participating with the group. Along the way, Erskine said, the event drew lots of attention, including TV and radio interviews, both in Maine and Massachusetts. Many passers-by, Erskine said, honked their horns and gave the walkers a thumbs-up.

“It was very exciting,” he said. “We had more followers than we knew out there.”

On Sunday, Peter Wildes said, the group was honored at Fenway Park. As friends and family looked on, all four walkers were brought onto the field just before a game while the park’s announcer told their story to the crowd, provoking a standing ovation.

“We all got kind of choked up on the field,” he said.

Both Peter Wildes and Link Erskine said everyone took at least a day off after the walk, but aside from nursing some blisters and a sore ankle, everyone recovered from the walk just fine.

“It’s a little sore now,” Link Erskine said, referring to his ankle, “but nothing we couldn’t handle.”

Of the four original fathers, only Dave McHugh is still alive, but Link Erskine said he suspected all three of the other fathers joined their children in spirit throughout the walk.

“I’m sure they’re up there, great big smiles on their faces,” he said.

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