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What does it mean to be a superhero?

According to Christopher Reeve, best known for his motion picture portrayal of Superman, a superhero is something entirely different than what you might see on the silver screen. To him, superheroes are the ordinary individuals who find strength to persevere and endure, even in the most difficult situations. At Northern Light Health, we often see such everyday heroes. Among them are the children who have battled childhood cancer, traumatic injuries, and other medical issues, for whom overcoming tremendous obstacles—that would challenge even Superman—has become a way of life.

Ellie-1.jpgMeet Ellie
Ellie, from Glenburn, was a typical four-year-old when her pre-kindergarten teacher noticed a droop in one of her eyes. Ellie’s mom took her to Northern Light Pediatric Primary Care, Bangor, and her pediatrician suggested that Ellie see an eye specialist. Things took a turn for the worst when the specialist found a large mass behind Ellie’s eye, and surgery was needed to remove as much of it as possible. The mass was tested, and then Ellie’s parents got the terrifying news: it was cancer. Suddenly, Ellie was in for the fight of her life, beginning with six months of chemotherapy at Northern Light Pediatric Cancer Care.

Alisa-1.jpgAnd Meet Alisa
Nobody knows that life can change in an instant better than Alisa of Eddington, the only person in her family who remembers the terrible car accident that happened several years ago on the way home from a summer barbeque. Stunned and in shock, Alisa, who was only eleven years old at the time, climbed out of the heavily damaged SUV while pulling shards of glass from her hair. She was transported to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, where she was rushed into the operating room for emergency surgery to repair her bowel and spleen.

The right care, just for kids
Children like Ellie and Alisa are not simply small adults. They have unique needs, and special equipment and expertise are needed to help them recover. It’s complex care that requires a lot of resources, and that’s where Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals makes a difference.

“Money is raised a few cents or dollars at a time at the registers of Rite Aid and Circle K, whose campaigns are happening this spring and Walmart and Sam’s Club, whose fundraising drives kick off in the summer,” says Kelly Pearson, director, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. “Our success is driven by ordinary people who together are doing extraordinary things because they are committed to helping kids.”

Other corporate and community partners include Dairy Queen, Log a Load for Maine Kids, Credit Unions for Kids, Ace Hardware, and Re/Max as well as students from the University of Maine and John Bapst High School, who recently raised more than $37,000 at their dance marathons.

Recently, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals dollars have funded an ultrasound machine for maternal child care, ventilators to help Neonatal Intensive Care Unit babies breathe, the relocation of Eastern Maine Medical Center’s Pediatric Sedation service, the Northern Light Acadia Hospital Acadia CARES video series that highlights youth mental health and wellness issues, and much more.

Are you ready to make a difference?
While Superman may have been able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, Ellie and Alisa have powers of their own: they had the resilience to overcome challenges that no child should ever face, and today, they’re both thriving. Thanks to our generous supporters, Ellie is a happy, healthy nine-year-old with a big smile and a sparkle in her eye and Alisa, now seventeen, loves to dance.

March 18-24 is #ChildrensHospitalsWeek, a time to celebrate Ellie, Alisa, and all kids who benefit from the pediatric care we provide, and to recognize the generous donors who make it all possible.
Get involved:

  • Stop by the #ChildrensHospitalsWeek table in the Maine CafĂ© at Eastern Maine Medical Center throughout the week. Spin the prize wheel, get inspired, and learn about Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

  • Snap a pic and share it! Show your support by wearing a bandage of your choice, taking a selfie or photo of your department, and sharing it with the #ChildrensHospitalsWeek hashtag. You can even write the name of a child you know who has benefitted from our services (posting of patient names or patient information must comply with HIPAA and other applicable privacy laws. When in doubt, check with your local privacy officer first!).

  • Read more stories and learn how Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is so essential to the care we provide at www.northernlighthealth.org/childrenshospitalsweek.

  • Follow us to view images and stories from the week: