Fort Kent ~ Northern Maine Medical Center (NNMC) Chief Executive Officer, Peter Sirois, announced that the hospital’s annual report to the community for 2016, is being dedicated to the people who have made the Edgar J. Paradis Cancer Fund what it is today. Sirois said, “We are deeply grateful for the hard work and years of dedication that brought Edgar (Guy) Paradis’ dream to fruition.” Each year the annual report is dedicated to a group who has had a significant impact on the lives of communities that it serves.
One of fourteen children, born to Lucille and Raoul Paradis in 1954, Edgar J. Paradis was to face something that no one wants for their child -cancer. Edgar was nicknamed Guy on the very day he was brought home from the hospital by his proud parents. Though it is well known through the Edgar J. (Guy) Paradis Cancer Fund that Guy is the reason that the Fund exists and that he died much too soon, there are many other things not so well known about him.
From the family stories, it is evident that Guy was a caring young man with many talents. For instance, while recuperating from a fall which resulted in multiple fractures he developed an interest in photography. In 1976, he even applied to photography school. When he had the last of his surgical pins removed after his accident, a large tumor was discovered in his chest, necessitating surgery followed by chemotherapy. The yearlong battle with cancer temporarily delayed his dream of pursuing photography, which he resumed after the completion of this cancer treatment. Photography was important to him in that it provided him with a form of self expression in dealing with his battle with cancer.
What Guy and his family did not know was that his battle with cancer was not over. Though he seemed to revert to a normal life, such as assisting family with construction projects and snowmobiling, later that spring, Guy was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. The prognosis was grim, leaving he and his family with a sense of helplessness. In the long hours of working through this crisis, Guy shared with his family that he wanted to leave something behind to represent his life after he passed. At the very young age of 24, the decision was made to establish a fund to support families dealing with similar circumstances that he had been going through. Guy contributed his savings to create a base for the Fund. Soon after, Guy lost his battle to leukemia on June 4, 1978.
The Paradis family, true to Guy’s wishes, immediately set up the structure for Guy’s legacy and launched the Edgar J. (Guy) Paradis Leukemia Fund, naming a Board of Directors and planning fundraising efforts. Beginning with Guy’s $2,000 savings, along with anonymous donations amounting to an additional $5,000, the family set out to make Guy’s wish come true by informing others of his dream. The very first summer after his passing they organized a walkathon and raised an impressive $4200.
Approximately ten years later, the Paradis family approached Northern Maine Medical Center to seek support through a partnership as a means to expand the Fund. In 1988, the Fund was renamed to offer a broader scope, the Edgar J. (Guy) Paradis Cancer Fund and since then the Fund has been administered by NMMC. The mission of the Fund is not only to provide financial support to families but includes other forms of support such as: a reference library to provide accurate information, annual cancer education programs for ongoing learning and networking and a cancer support group for cancer victims and their families to share common experiences and solutions.
In the words of his Guy’s sister, Francoise, “Let my brother smile with pride and satisfaction because his wish is fulfilled and his contribution is worthy!” Guy left the greatest gift that anyone could leave when he passed, the gift of hope, and the Paradis family and all of its supporters, have kept the gift alive. Through the untiring efforts of the Paradis family and the generous support and donations from so many, a Fund milestone was reached this year in the amount of one million dollars. On behalf of the people of the St. John Valley, NMMC extends its grateful appreciation to the Paradis Family for their strength and fortitude to make Guy’s dream come to life by supporting so many patients and families.
To learn more about ways to support the Cancer Fund, contact Claire Moss at 207-834-1411.
On behalf of the people of the St. John Valley, NMMC extends its grateful appreciation to the Paradis Family for their strength and fortitude to make Guy’s dream come to life by supporting so many patients and families.
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