The County Dialysis Center, the only kidney dialysis service in Aroostook County and the only not-for-profit center in Maine, held a ribbon cutting and open house Thursday with patients, health care providers and business and community leaders at its expanded and updated facility located at the North Street Healthcare in Presque Isle.

A number of board members from the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce, donors and other community leaders, joined TAMC officials including Glenda Dwyer, interim president of the hospital; Dr. Jay Reynolds, chief medical officer; and Aron Chalou, manager of the County Dialysis Center to cut the ribbon for the new center which currently treats 53 patients from every corner of Aroostook County.

Among community and TAMC leaders taking part in the ribbon cutting at the new County Dialysis Center were, front from left: Cindy Thibeau of Machias Savings Bank, which donated funds in support of the new center; Chamber board members Laurie Nelson and Shelley McAtee; Aron Chalou, manager of County Dialysis Center; Shawn Lahey, chamber president; Gene Lynch, member of the TAMC Board of Trustees; Glenda Dwyer, TAMC interim president; Donna & Robert Umphrey of Northeast Packaging; and Sherry Beaulieu, manager of TAMC’s Country Heart Gift Shop, which has donated proceeds to the CDC effort. Back from left: Orpheus Allison, dialysis patient; Renee Saucier of Machias Savings Bank; Floyd Rockholdt, chamber board member; Diane Greene and Joe Clukey from Katahdin Trust Company, another donor for the center; Dr. Jay Reynolds, chief medical officer at TAMC; Pete St. John, Katahdin Trust Company; and Michael Bosse from The County Federal Credit Union, also a donor for the center.

One in three Americans is at risk for kidney disease and the number is growing both nationally and in Maine. The County Dialysis Center, a department of TAMC, provides treatments three times a week to patients from every corner of Aroostook County some of whom travel over 345 miles each week for their critical care.

Founded in 1997 with 12 patients, the County Dialysis Center has provided over 104,000 vital treatments since it opened and the number of patients has more than quadrupled in less than 20 years.

Last summer, TAMC began the quiet phase of a $750,000 capital campaign to update and enlarge the kidney dialysis center to accommodate the growing number of County patients. Not only was the space no longer adequate to serve patients, but critical equipment which had operated consistently six days a week for nearly 20 years had far exceeded its useful life. The upgrades to both facilities and equipment were desperately needed.

“Without the Center, patients would have to travel to down state for treatment, move from The County or go without treatments altogether. Having a dialysis center close to home allows patients to receive local care with the support network of their families and friends,” said Glenda Dwyer, Interim President of TAMC.

Local individuals and companies including The County Federal Credit Union, Katahdin Trust, Machias Savings Bank, MMG Insurance and Northeast Packaging have helped the campaign reach 70% of its goal and annual proceeds from TAMC’s Country Heart Gift Shop have been allocated to the effort. The campaign needs to raise the remaining 30% of its goal in the next eight weeks. Donations to the County Dialysis Center campaign can be made online at tamc.org/dialysis or by calling 207-768-4350.

This information was submitted to us as part of a press release.
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