Islesboro Crossing to Help Maine’s Tiniest Patients

ISLESBORO and LINCOLNVILLE, Maine—Now in its third year, the Islesboro Crossing for LifeFlight is scheduled to take place at 7am on Saturday, August 29, 2015. The event kicks off with an athlete and volunteer dinner on Friday evening, August 28, at the Summit at Point Lookout in Lincolnville. On Saturday morning, the swimmers and escorts depart Point Lookout’s beach for the 5k swim over to Grindle Point, Islesboro. Coffee and refreshments are served on the island from 8am to 10am and the public is encouraged to gather at the ferry terminal to welcome the athletes.

LifeFlight of Maine is a nonprofit charity that provides care to all patients in need, regardless of insurance status or financial resources. All of the organization’s capital purchases, including aircraft and specialized equipment, are funded by donations from individuals, foundations and businesses. For this reason, community fundraising events like the Islesboro Crossing play an essential role in making sure LifeFlight can continue to provide care and transport to critically ill and injured patients everywhere in Maine.

This year’s Islesboro Crossing (join the conversation at #IX2015) is raising money to purchase an isolette, a special infant carrier designed to maintain a constant ambient temperature and monitor a sick newborn’s vital signs.

Four-year-old Alden Zimmerman, who lives in Hope with his parents, was just a few days old when he needed the isolette on LifeFlight’s Bangor-based helicopter. He was severely dehydrated with dangerously high sodium levels and needed treatment from the specialists at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland. LifeFlight was called to get him there as quickly and safely and possible. Alden made a complete recovery from his ordeal and today enjoys the life of a typical pre-schooler. He loves to fix things with his dad, ask his mom a million questions, evade bedtime, ride his bike, build marble runs, and anything to do with firefighting.

Alden’s dad, Christian, recalls the day the LifeFlight crew placed his newborn son into the isolette and prepared him for the 24-minute helicopter trip.

“My wife and I were overwhelmed with the suddenness of the situation,” he remembers. “The two LifeFlight paramedics exuded not only medical professionalism, but also a sense of calm and reassurance that everything would be okay. One of the paramedics took my cell phone number before the helicopter lifted off for Portland, and then he actually called to let me know they landed. We were so touched by this above-and-beyond gesture, we’ll never forget it.”

LifeFlight currently operates two helicopters, one in Bangor and one in Lewiston, and is in the midst of its campaign for a third helicopter. The isolette expected to be purchased with funds from the Islesboro Crossing is for this new aircraft, which will require all of the same specialized equipment as the existing helicopters.

Experienced swimmers, along with volunteers and sponsors, who would like to take part in the 2015 edition of the Islesboro Crossing can register online. The deadline to sign up is August 22 and the entrance fee per swimmer is $125 (participants can raise it or pay it themselves). Additional fundraising incentives are also being offered, including LifeFlight hats, coffee and personalized sweatshirts. For further details on the swim, contact the LifeFlight Foundation at 207-230-7092.

LifeFlight of Maine is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit air medical and critical care transport organization. LifeFlight helicopters, flying at 165 miles per hour, bring lifesaving critical care professionals and equipment directly to the patient. It also provides advanced emergency medical trainingto Maine’s hospitals, emergency medical services (EMS) and public safety agencies. Overseen by 21 physicians, LifeFlight cared for more than 1,600 critically ill and injured patients last year. Since its inception in 1998, LifeFlight has transported more than 18,000 patients from everyhospital and nearly all of Maine’s communities and islands. To learn more, please call 207-230-7092.