EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — Melissa Creehan and her 3-year-old daughter, Chloe, have a wish list, and Kelly Willigar and Debbie Currie are attempting to fulfill it.
Chloe has a rare skin disease, Epidermolytic Hyperkeratosis, and her mother cannot afford items that would make Chloe’s life more comfortable, so Willigar and Currie are asking for help.
They have found that even though the Katahdin region is harder hit than most by the recent economic downturn, people are generous, giving cash or items the Creehans need.
“It’s been awesome. People are absolutely wonderful,” Willigar said Monday. “All you have to do is ask, and people will give. It’s absolutely amazing.”
Epidermolytic Hyperkeratosis is a rare genetic disorder that causes scaly skin eruptions, bony prominences and easy blistering on parts of the body. As few as one person out of 300,000 suffers from it, according to emedicine.com.
A certified nurse’s assistant, Creehan needs some special equipment and must bathe her daughter several times a day to treat her disorder, said Willigar, an increasingly well-known town volunteer who helped organized the town’s Centennial and Centennial Plus One efforts starting in 2007.
Among the donated items are a used car, a whirlpool and an air conditioning unit. The whirlpool and air conditioner help keep Chloe clean and cool, as her skin condition causes her body to superheat occasionally, Willigar said.
Chloe needs a cooling suit to help keep her temperature from escalating. The family has put together a wish list that includes a humidifier; new bath towels and wash cloths, which must be white and 100 percent cotton; dish cloths and towels; new twin- or full-size bedding; a newer couch and chair; pots and pans; a television; a DVD player; a TV stand; and a new house, Willigar said.
It might seem a daunting list, but people’s generosity has been stellar, Willigar said.
One East Millinocket family donated $1,000 in cash. Another woman, who suffers from pancreatic cancer, donated the whirlpool.
Anyone interested in making donations can telephone Willigar at 746-9982 or Currie at 746-3248.
Currie and Creehan did not return telephone calls seeking comment on Monday.