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If you were to ask Mary what she enjoys most or what makes her who she is, she would likely respond saying, “Helping people is what I do best”. This comes as no surprise given the tremendous time and energy that she has poured into helping others navigate the trials and challenges of life. As a substance abuse counselor and social worker, she has frequently walked alongside people as they fought to reclaim their lives and overcome addiction. Likewise, as a devoted friend, Mary has always found time in her schedule to extend a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, and to serve as a true champion of those less fortunate.

About 12 years ago, Mary felt led to take a trip to refocus her life and experience self-discovery. Though she didn’t intend to stay, her finances have kept her in Phoenix ever since. This transition distanced her from the people she cared most for, including her dear son Malik. Malik now has a seven year old son, Sahu, whom Mary has never had the opportunity to meet.

Ever since her grandson was born, Mary felt like video chats and pictures of him were never enough. As a grandmother, she longed for the opportunity to “know what it felt like to hold him and kiss his little fat cheeks.” Mary said, “I just can’t wait to spend time with him and give him the undivided attention he deserves”. Even at a far distance, Mary and Sahu have created a unique and deeply special bond. Malik shared himself that Sahu loves talking with his “nana” and gets excited whenever they get to talk or see one another over the phone. It is undeniable that if the two ever met in person that their connection would be unforgettable and true testament to the incomparable love of family.

Malik and Sahu reside in New York and neither Mary nor Malik have been able to finance such a reunion. Ever since Sahu was born, it has been Mary’s greatest wish to meet her beloved grandson.

On January 16th, 2019, Mary got her wish.

The bond of a grandmother and grandson is not easily broken, and the memories from their first embrace and time spent together will surely last a lifetime. 

After the loving reunion, Mary shared, “I enjoyed them very much. I was tickled pink. I am very grateful, words can’t express it. The highlight was climbing up the tree with my grandson. How many 77-year-old’s do you know get up on a tree?”