Olympic champion leads walk against domestic violence in Salem

Kayla Harrison after winning the women's -78kg judo contest final at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
AFP/Getty Images
Kayla Harrison after winning the women's -78kg judo contest final at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

WALK FOR HAWC: While preparing for the 2012 Olympics, Kayla Harrison  spoke publicly about abuse by her childhood coach.

Shortly after she moved to Marblehead, and with the support of family, friends, and her new coach Jimmy Pedro  and his father, she recognized her inner strength and focused on becoming the world’s best in her sport of judo.

During the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she achieved her longtime goal of winning a gold medal in judo, which had never been accomplished by an American man or woman.


And in the time since she came out publicly about her abuse, many victims have disclosed their personal experiences to her.

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Harrison was recently selected as honorary chairwoman of the annual HAWC (Healing Abuse Working for Change) walk and run, scheduled for May 5 in Salem.

It is HAWC’s largest fund-raising event.

“I am honored to walk with HAWC supporters so that I can bring hope to victims and remove any shame they may feel, so they, too, can achieve their personal goals,” said Harrison.

For 35 years, HAWC has helped victims heal and thrive through free and confidential services including a 24-hour hot line, individual advocacy, support groups, legal advocacy, shelter and youth violence prevention programs, and community education.


The walk and run was kicked off 21 years ago. For more information, visit  or call 800-547-1649. 

TAKING A BREAK: Rolling Ridge Retreat & Conference Center in North Andover hosts a special retreat for caregivers of people with long-term illnesses on Wednesday.

The event is led by Mary E. MacDonald, founder and chief executive of Marymac Missions. The program is geared for people of all ages caring for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s/Dementia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, ALS, stroke, cancer, or a similar long-term illness.

McDonald’s wellness program and guide, “Take Care of Yourself: Seven Sustainable Skills for the Long-Term Care Journey,” is based on her own family care-giving experience and offers an introduction to seven areas of wellness including breathing, meditation, restorative yoga, basic body-care tips, 24/7 retreat strategies, journaling, expressive arts, and partner dance.

The day, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., includes small-group sharing of experiences and an opportunity for quiet time by the water or walking the woodland path at Rolling Ridge.


Call 978-682-8815 or visit

FIGHTING FAT: North Shore Community College invites the public to a free screening of “Weight of the Nation,” a documentary about the obesity epidemic in the United States, next Thursday. The college’s nursing staff facilitates a discussion of the film and offers free blood pressure checks. The screening is 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. in the gym on the college’s Lynn campus.

Contact Barbara Ikalainen at 781-593-6722, ext. 5560 or at

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Lindsey Mayo of North Andover, director of alumni relations at Northern Essex Community College, was recently honored for her leadership experience by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Mayo received the Rising Star Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of new advancement professionals whose early success promises future leadership and achievement. A graduate of North Andover High School, Mayo earned a bachelor of arts in public management from the University of Maine in 2005 and her master of education in higher education administration from Northeastern University in 2008. She has served as director of alumni relations in the institutional advancement office at Northern Essex since December 2011. . . . For the second year, a team from the Massachusetts School of Law in Andover has won the Thurgood Marshall Trial Advocacy competition for the northeast region of the National Black Law Students Association. The Northeast region comprises 33 law schools in New England, New York, and northern New Jersey. The team now advances to the national finals, to be held March 6 through 10, in Atlanta, where it will compete against the winners from the other regions in the country.

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