Crossing more than 2,700 miles on land and water during the month of August, 153 participants, supported by 1,800 donors and 17 sponsors, raised $356,725 for LifeFlight of Maine during the annual Cross for LifeFlight. Team Ten, headed by team captain and longtime LifeFlight of Maine champion Wade Smith, led the way by raising more than $54,000.

Originally created as the Islesboro Crossing, what was once a swim across Penobscot Bay had to be modified in 2020 due to the pandemic and was intentionally reimagined this past year as something completely different.

“This year’s Cross enabled us to develop a strong model and foundation from which we can improve and expand. We are committed to ‘staying the course’ by offering a self-directed, asynchronous, statewide, choose your own activity event every summer. We’re confident that this is the optimal path forward to both increase awareness about LifeFlight and raise the critical funds we need. We like how the event aligns so well with the LifeFlight mission and story – statewide, team-based, and inclusive,” said Kate O’Halloran, the LifeFlight Foundation’s executive director.

One of the primary goals for this year’s Cross was creating a sense of community through engagement and connection, which remains a challenge for participants who typically gather in person for events such as this. Participants were encouraged to log their activities and miles in a custom, online tracking site and submit photos of their Crossings as part of a photo contest held in partnership with Maine Magazine. During August and September, real-time fundraising data was analyzed to create a series of weekly fundraising contests and tips designed to motivate participants to reach new fundraising goals.

In keeping with a “LifeFlight Of Maine” theme, the event featured a wide range of prizes from various Maine-based craftsmen and companies, many of which were generously donated. A new elite fundraising club, Peak Performers, was developed to recognize those participants who raised $3,500 or more.

At the top of this year’s fundraising pack was Camden-based Team Ten, which led the way by raising more than $54,000. Wade Smith, Team Ten Captain and longtime LifeFight of Maine champion, explained the drive behind his team’s extraordinary Cross for LifeFlight efforts this year.

“Team Ten members have many reasons for why we cross, although we share one common focus — helping Lifeflight complete the fleet so they can better serve the people in this great state,” said Smith. “We believe in teamwork because we know that it takes every single fundraiser to make this event the huge success it is, by bringing the community together. The funds we raise often come from personal giving by our team members (including piggy banks), donations from friends and family, as well as sponsorships from hundreds of small businesses up and down the coast. We are extremely grateful for the overwhelming contributions and we thank LifeFlight of Maine for all that they do.”

Two new critical care helicopters joined the Maine fleet last summer; funds raised from the 2021 Cross for LifeFlight will help bring a third upgraded critical care helicopter to Maine. “To all who participated in or supported the Cross for LifeFlight this summer, we hope you take great pride in knowing you’ve done something special to help care for the people of Maine,” said O’Halloran.

The LifeFlight Foundation is especially grateful for this year’s sponsors: Viking Lumber, Camden National Bank, Sea Dog Brewing Company, Maine Magazine, Broadreach Public Relations, MaineHealth, Eaton Peabody, Kittery Trading Post, Fisher Plow, Journey’s End Marina, J. Edward Knight Insurance, LandVest, L.L. Bean, Horch Roofing, Gorham Savings Bank, Brio! Custom, and The Jett Travolta Foundation.

The LifeFlight Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization that provides fundraising and public relations support to LifeFlight of Maine. Supported by the generosity of the many friends of LifeFlight, the Foundation raises funds for aircraft, medical equipment, statewide aviation improvements, and various educational and training programs for LifeFlight staff and its emergency care partners around the state. The LifeFlight Foundation helps ensure that Maine’s most vulnerable patients receive the highest quality care when every minute counts.

LifeFlight of Maine is the state’s only air medical and critical care transport organization, which brings high-level care and advanced equipment directly to the patient. LifeFlight cared for more than 2,200 patients last year and has transported more than 32,000 patients since it was launched in 1998.