By Robbie McKay Lincoln News • September 6, 2018
MILLINOCKET – Some of life’s greatest accomplishments are the results of endeavors that started on a small scale. At Millinocket Regional Hospital, the Oncology Department’s Renovation and Expansion Drive is proving that philosophy to be true.
In February of 2017, the hospital community decided to raise money to purchase a blanket warmer for the patients in the Oncology department as patients undergoing treatment can have lowered immune systems. The organization Our Katahdin pitched in and raised $2,745; St. Martin of Tours Thrift Shop donated $1,000; and Brookfield Renewable gave $1,200 which enabled the hospital to obtain the warmer which now supplies 12-15 hot blankets at a time to patients who need them.
On the heels of this success, the hospital community decided to continue fundraising: this time for just one treatment chair which costs approximately $4,000. A hospital employee, Lucie Mallett, wanted to do something for the oncology patients there. She enlisted the help of her friend, Jana Stevens, who made a beautiful cancer ribbon quilt in her honor that the group raffled off to start the fund for the chair. Bake sales, more raffles and other events followed as the group slowly chipped away at the goal.
The Elks Lodge # 1521 of Millinocket contacted the hospital and announced that they would be donating $20,000 to the cause. This tremendous gift has allowed the hospital to purchase four new chairs, which are in use now. Patients are thrilled that they are so much more comfortable that the old ones because patients spend a lot of time in them while they receive treatment. They are also using the heat and massage functions, reclining or sitting upright in the spacious seat. The chairs also feature an over-the-lap dinner tray as well as two side tables. Each chair bears a plaque on the side recognizing the extreme generosity of the Elks and their donation that made it all possible. Katie Mackin, marketing coordinator for MRH wants people to know how much their help is appreciated.
“I know, from talking with our donors, that this expansion and renovation of the Oncology Clinic is a project they hold near and dear to their hearts,” she said. “They understand the need we are faced with and have taken action to make it happen. We are so grateful to be a part of this amazing, supportive community,” she added.
Now the focus is on the future. The NextGen Foundation gifted MRH with $300,000 which will be used to renovate and upgrade the clinic. As the fundraising drive continues, the group will be hosting a bake sale at the Trail’s End Festival September 14, 15, and 16. More and more fundraisers are in the works as MRH moves forward with the expansion, and they will keep the community informed. Mackin has words of high praise for the region.
“The community, as well as so many others who have ties back here, have really rallied around us and supported us in our fundraising no matter how big or small the event,” she said. “We couldn’t have achieved what we’ve have up to this point without their support,” said Mackin.
About Millinocket Regional Hospital
Millinocket Regional Hospital (MRH) is a 25 bed Critical Access Hospital nestled at the base of Baxter State Park that provides vital healthcare services to those who live, work and play in the Katahdin Region. Beyond the friendly staff and award-winning patient care, MRH provides an impressive range of specialty and general services; with a recent expansion resulting in the addition of eight new specialties and a Walk-In Care facility. In 2016, MRH was recognized as the Cleanest Hospital in New England by Becker’s Hospital Review and received a five star rating on the Medicare Quality Scale. Providing jobs to approximately 250 people, MRH is the largest employer in the Katahdin Region and a crucial economic force within its community. For more information, please visit www.mrhme.org or www.facebook.com/MillinocketRegionalHospital