BREWER, Maine — Fire trucks from more than a dozen area fire departments will converge Saturday at CancerCare of Maine to support the construction of a new pediatric cancer floor.
Local firefighters have rallied behind the $3.4 million project, which will relocate Eastern Maine Medical Center’s children’s cancer and blood disorders clinic from the hospital’s Webber Building in Bangor to EMMC’s CancerCare of Maine, located at the Lafayette Family Cancer Center in Brewer.
The new clinic will open in mid-December, providing children and their families with a much roomier and more inviting space for cancer treatment, said J. Bradford Coffey, vice president for philanthropy at the Eastern Maine Healthcare System Foundation.
“We’ll be going from 900 square feet to 8,000 square feet,” he said.
The existing clinic in Bangor is made up of four small exam and treatment rooms that are shared by multiple departments at EMMC. In Brewer, patients will have more privacy and their loved ones will be able to wait during treatments in more comfortable surroundings, Coffey said. The third-floor space also allows advanced treatments for cancer and blood disorders to be housed under one roof.
In Maine, the incidence of cancer among children under age 15 is 16.2 out of every 100,000, above the national average of 15.3, according to data compiled from 2005 to 2009 by the National Cancer Institute.
Plans for the new clinic include an indoor “treehouse” for children to play in, a treatment area for teenagers, private rooms and a kitchen.
So far, $2.9 million has been raised toward the project.
“We’re about $500,000 short of where we’d like to be,” Coffey said.
Of the money raised, $1 million will be set aside in an endowment to fund positions for social workers and children’s programs, as well as to sustain future needs for staffing, equipment, education, research and patient assistance.
Saturday’s event will include a firetruck parade, a LifeFlight helicopter, music, face painting and other activities. For information, visit hhh.emmc.org.