“Lights of Life” Underway for 2016 Holiday Season
This holiday season marks the ninth year that TAMC is holding a Lights of Life event to raise awareness and support for cancer care in Aroostook County, ultimately benefiting friends, neighbors and loved ones who are battling the disease. The hope is to raise at least $10,000.
Brenda Baker, manager of Aroostook Cancer Care, says past projects have helped to fund a new linear accelerator for radiation therapy and to provide dollars to TAMC's patient support fund to help them with costs associated with their fight against cancer. Baker says this year’s efforts will support bringing Stereotactic Body Radio-Therapy to Aroostook County
SBRT is a form of radiation therapy in which a high dose of radiation is delivered to a highly focused area. With conventional radiation therapy, radiation is delivered in relatively small doses in daily treatments over the course of several weeks. With SBRT, radiation oncologists are able to deliver a higher dose of radiation over the course of far fewer treatments, typically one to five, over one to two weeks.
Candidates for SBRT are patients with early stage lung cancer with tumors typically less than or equal to 5 cm (2 inches) who are not good candidates for surgery. Patients with lung and liver metastases from other primary cancers such as colon cancer or breast cancer are also potential candidates for SBRT. Patients with spinal bone metastases from radio-resistant cancers such as kidney cancer and melanoma are potential candidates as well.
Baker says the new linear accelerator which has been in operation at TAMC for the past year has the ability to perform SBRT, but additional equipment needs to be purchased to make that happen.
“For our patients, this will mean they would no longer have to travel to Bangor to receive this therapy. We currently have a couple of dozen of folks travel down each year,” explains Baker. “Getting treatments closer to home and the support system of family and friends makes a difference both physically and psychologically with patients and can truly make a difference in outcomes.”
Through Lights of Life, individuals can purchase lights to remember those who have lost their lives to cancer, or to honor survivors, family and friends of survivors, caregivers and others. Lights may be purchased anytime now through December 31 in person at a Clukey’s Auto Supply location in Presque Isle, Caribou or Houlton; at McGillan, Inc., in Fort Fairfield; or on-line at TAMC's website.
Lights are being sold for: white, $10; red, $25; green, $50; blue, $100; yellow $150; orange, $250; and purple, $500. For lights purchased at Clukey’s, colored paper bulbs will be displayed in their store window. For those purchased online, through the mail or at McGillan, Inc., the paper bulbs will be displayed in the hallway across from Aroostook Cancer Care at TAMC. A list of all honorees will also be posted at tamc.org at the end of the event and displayed through January.
The Star, $1000, is also available this year, and only one star will be sold. Baker says the individual honored through the purchase of the star will receive special recognition at the Lights of Life tree lighting event.
For this year’s Lights of Life tree, TAMC is partnering with Machias Savings Bank in Presque Isle. Paul Cyr recently donated a live tree that was planted on the bank’s property with the intention of it being a community tree. The tree lighting will be held on Friday, December 2, at 5:30 p.m. at the bank, located at 9 Dyer Street.
In addition to partnering with Machias Savings Bank on the tree lighting, TAMC renewed partnerships with Clukey’s Auto Sales and McGillan, Inc. Both Tom Clukey and Fred “JR” McGillan, Jr. were celebrated with the Lights of Life star in previous years.