Ocean swimmers raise more than $115,000 to help LifeFlight purchase equipment for Maine's tiniest patients

Release Date: 9/4/2015 12:00:00 AM

LINCOLNVILLE and ISLESBORO, Maine—After months of training and pledge gathering, 80 open water swimmers, accompanied by their personal kayak escorts and 10 safety boats, braved the chilly Atlantic on August 29 to swim the 3.1-mile channel from Lincolnville to Islesboro in the 3rd annual Islesboro Crossing for LifeFlight. These dedicated athletes raised more than $115,000, which will be used to purchase an infant isolette for LifeFlight’s soon-to-be-purchased third helicopter.

When unstable newborns need to receive specialized care at a regional medical center, they are transported in an infant isolette. This specialized unit provides a constant and nurturing environment and is capable of monitoring vital signs, delivering various concentrations of oxygen and keeping a pre-established temperature inside.
 
According to LifeFlight executive director Tom Judge, “Babies are thermally challenged – that is, not only is it difficult to maintain their body temperature, but it’s difficult for them to overcome temperature deficits—we have to take special precautions and use some highly advanced equipment when transporting our tiniest patients.” 
 
Want to know what it takes to host the third annual Islesboro Crossing for LifeFlight?
  • 80 swimmers
  • 80 support escorts
  • 15 pans of lasagna (carnivore and herbivore)
  • 114 volunteers (on the mainland, on the water and on the island)
  • 165 breakfast sandwiches
  • 1 paddleboarding canine escort
  • 2 bullhorns
  • 1 inflatable shark
  • 248 miles swam
  • 10 volunteer boats
  • 5 Hermon Mountain ski patrollers waist deep in the ocean helping swimmers out of the water
  • 258 cups of coffee
  • 6 helicopter fly-bys
  • Dozens of island spectators clapping, cheering and thanking
 
Every year, LifeFlight helps more and more critically ill and injured residents and visitors to Maine regardless of their ability to pay. Last year, the annual number topped 1,600, with a total of more than 19,000 since operations began in 1998. The nonprofit, statewide emergency medical helicopter service is a lifeline for Maine’s remote and rural communities, but it relies on private donations from individuals, businesses and foundations to purchase aircraft and medical equipment, build aviation infrastructure and provide emergency medical training.

The 3rd annual Islesboro Crossing for LifeFlight open water swim fundraising event was held on August 28-29. On Friday evening athletes and volunteers gathered at the summit facility at Point Lookout Resort to have dinner, register and hear important safety information. Then at 7am on Saturday morning, swimmers, kayak escorts and safety boats began the 5k swim from Point Lookout Resort’s beach and finished just north of the Grindle Point Lighthouse on Islesboro. A large group of Islesboro community members welcomed swimmers as they climbed out of the water, and provided nourishing food and drink. The LifeFlight helicopter also made an appearance, circling overhead as the flotilla made its way across the channel, and landing on the island so everyone could see the aircraft up close and personal.

In addition to the individual fundraising, the event was also generously sponsored by Point Lookout/athenahealth, Camden National Bank, Jett Travolta Foundation, Eaton Peabody, Jo Ellen Designs, Speedo and Maine Magazine, with in-kind support from Schooner Bay Taxi, Needful Things and Services, Quicksilver and Cleanwoods Portable Toilets.

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 staff and equipment directly to the patient. It also provides advanced emergency medical training to 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 19,000 patients from every hospital and nearly all of Maine’s communities and islands. If you would like to learn more about LifeFlight, please call 207-230-7092.