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Making Spirits Bright

December is a fun time of year where we get to step out of our day-to-day roles and celebrate the season with our friends and neighbors. See how a few of our Northern Light Health members are making the season merry and bright for so many people in our communities.

Holiday-team.jpgSanta's Sleigh was the crown jewel of the December 1 Lights Parade in Presque Isle as it has been for the last three years. Northern Light AR Gould Hospital, along with community partners, donates toys to the United Way of Aroostook who then provide these presents to families county-wide. In addition to the parade, employees were invited to dress down and bring a toy. Parents in need of these gifts simply fill out an application and then are able to shop for what their kids want. Historically, Northern Light AR Gould Hospital employees have provided more than half of the toys at the distribution and we expect this to continue. Photo: Left to Right Zoe Kinney, Brian Mosher (ARG), Mia Shaw, Sherry Locke (United Way of Aroostook), Natalie Putnam, Taylor Hedrich, Finn Mosher, Carly Guerrette, Eli Mosher, Macey Kinney holding Camryn Smith, Danica Haskell, and Lydia Smith. 

47319703_2172512219460491_2632908157533290496_o.jpgA great time was had by all at the 38th Annual Heart of Ellsworth Christmas Parade on December 1. This year's theme was "Seasons Greetings”, and Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital did not disappoint the crowd of parade-goers with it’s hilarious take on the Island of Misfit Toys. The streets were lined as far as the eye could see as employees of the hospital and their families wore their Christmas-best at this beloved annual community event.

NLH-Float-1-(1).jpgThe streets of downtown Bangor were ablaze with dazzling displays of holiday lights during the 9th annual Festival of Lights parade. Northern Light Health Eastern Maine Medical Center, Acadia Hospital, Beacon Health, and Home Office teamed up to enter our first ever Northern Light Health system float in the parade—which took home first place as Outstanding Non-profit entry of over 60 participants. This year’s parade theme was, “Be the inspiration.” This group of jolly elves took the theme as an opportunity to recognize our patients and how they inspire the work we do every day from administrative support roles to direct patient care. 

Tree-Lighting-Event.jpgThe holiday season officially began in the Moosehead Lake region with a day of events for the entire family, including entertainment, family fun, a visit from Santa, and the lights on November 24. The highpoint of the event is the lighting of the holiday tree, which shines brightly because of the generosity of Northern Light CA Dean Hospital donors. Donors purchase colored lights in honor or memory of a loved one with all proceeds benefiting patient care at the hospital. The tree is located on the front lawn of the Moosehead Marine Museum for the community to enjoy throughout the holiday season.

Pictured from left to right: Left to right: Jaci Gaudet, MA, Northern Light Health Center, Greenville; Lorraine Rodgerson, vice president of nursing and operations; Terri Sleeper, director of philanthropy at CA Dean Hospital and Sebasticook Valley Hospital; Terri Vieira, president of CA Dean Hospital and Sebasticook Valley Hospital; and Bethany Young, from Town of Greenville.

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Rehab Shopping Spree

Hospital stays are rarely convenient, especially during the holidays.

Rehab-shopping-spree.jpgFinding time to plan, shop, and visit loved ones is exhausting enough without trying to coordinate it all from a hospital bed. Enter our Northern Light Health Eastern Maine Medical Center elves! The caring, dedicated team on Phillips Oliver 3 and Kelley 3 Inpatient Rehabilitation are doing their part to bring a bit of home to the hospital by ensuring each rehab patient has a gift to give to a loved one this holiday season.

For the last 14 Decembers, these employees have spread holiday cheer by arranging for a “shopping spree” for those patients unable to leave the unit. Throughout the year, generous employees collect gifts using their own resources. Caring and committed volunteers, rehab therapists, rehab nurses, medical professionals, hospital auxiliary members, current and former patients and their families all donate money to buy a variety of gifts that patients can browse through and give to their loved ones. Items include both homemade and purchased gifts for children, teens, men, women, and even pets.

“Many of our patients don’t have a chance to shop for loved ones,” says Stacy Waitt, CAC, activities coordinator, Northern Light Rehabilitation. “Our shopping spree helps lighten much of that anxiety. Patients come to our activity room, which is all decked out for the holidays, select the items they would like to give to their loved ones, and then volunteers wrap and deliver the gifts to the patient’s room. On Christmas day, our patients can surprise those who come to visit.”

In addition to bringing holiday joy to our patients and their family members, the care team also coordinates patient therapy into the project, using functional mobility, coordination, and cognitive skills during the shopping process.

This year’s patient shopping spree will take place on Thursday, December 20, 1 to 4 pm for more than 21 patients. If you would like to know more about the program, contact Stacy at 973-8580 or

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Tanisha's Birthday Gift

Tanisha Gilbert, payer contract analyst at Northern Light Health, is coming up on her twenty-ninth birthday, something this mother of two wasn’t thrilled about. “I'm nearing the 30s stage of my life and decided that instead of a pity party, I’d come up with something better—a way to give back.”

Tanisha’s inspiration came after the birth of her daughter. “I had a bunch of unused, unopened feminine hygiene products that I no longer needed. I said, ‘What am I supposed to do with these? They're expensive. I don't really want to throw them away.’ So, I started investigating and realized that there's a great need for these items among homeless and disadvantaged women, especially in our area, that can use these products.”
And just like that, a campaign was born. Tanisha put the call out via a fundraiser page on Facebook in mid-November and soon she was collecting hundreds of boxes of menstrual pads and tampons, travel-sized wipes, hand sanitizer, and pain relievers. “I've had a lot of response from women and men. Some of the men have said, ‘You know, don't sign me up for tampons,’ but they're more than willing to buy and give hand sanitizer—things that are a little bit more comfortable for them.”
Tanisha has been assembling these items into “period packs” which she will give on December 22—her birthday—to Partners for Peace, an organization that provides comprehensive services for people affected by abuse. The organization will help distribute these packs to individuals and other organizations that serve women in need.
“As women, when we have our period, it's usually been approached as shameful or something you hide, and it shouldn't be like that.” Tanisha added that her goal with this project is to help preserve for these women—our neighbors and patients—a life with dignity. A mother herself, she can also imagine what it is like for other mothers, with little means, to choose between providing food or clothing for a child or buying items like feminine hygiene products. “They have to make sacrifices, which mothers are more than willing to do, but it must take a toll on their self-esteem and just who they are as a person.”
The campaign ends December 22, and she plans to make the donation live on Facebook to give her supporters a chance to see the response to their good deed. “Hopefully it'll be really big. So far, I think I have 50 period packs full of products in the back of my vehicle right now! It’s awesome.”

Learn more about Tanisha's project on its Facebook page: