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Glenburn grandmother fighting to get a vaccine for her granddaughter battling cancer

A Glenburn grandmother is doing one of the things grandparents do best - fighting for their family.
A Glenburn grandmother is doing one of the things grandparents do best - fighting for their...
A Glenburn grandmother is doing one of the things grandparents do best - fighting for their family.(wabi)
Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 6:41 PM EST
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GLENBURN, Maine (WABI) - A Glenburn grandmother is doing one of the things grandparents do best - fighting for their family.

In this case - she’s urging state officials to find a way to vaccinate her granddaughter against COVID-19.

She is in a fight of her own - a battle against cancer.

“I’m at the University of Maine student. I’m also engaged. And so I’m looking forward to the day that I can plan my wedding again,” said 21-year-old Lauren Potter.

These are things grandparents hope are on the minds of their grandchildren like her grandmother, Katherine Merrithew, these are just a few of the reasons why she’s fighting for her to get a coronavirus vaccine.

“I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, back in 2019 in November. I had a few months of believing that my cancer was gone. It is now back,” said Potter.

Lauren is starting chemotherapy again in anticipation of a stem cell transplant this spring.

“Well, it’s you know it’s one thing to deal with unexpected cancer. It’s a lot for her to have to go through and in parallel, we have this coronavirus happening and of course we’d like to have her vaccinated,” said Merrithew.

Under Governor Mills’ original plan, Lauren may have been getting her vaccination soon. Like countless other Mainers who also thought they would be eligible because of their medical conditions or their jobs, they found out they would have to wait.

“So, I started reaching out to people.”

She began contacting people for answers like the director of the National Heath Institute who she says advised her to appeal to the state and to Representative Joe Baldacci who informed her Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav shah suggested contacting Dana Farber, where Lauren will be getting her transplant - to see if they would vaccinate her but they’re not sure that’s a possibility.

“I wouldn’t want to be in Governor Mills shoes to try to figure this out. It is tough. When I ask for one for Lauren, I’ve taken something away from someone else. I just wish there was a solution.”

I asked Dr, Shah about Lauren’s case and if they are working on any sort of solution for Mainers like Lauren.

“That’s incredibly difficult,” said Shah. He also said, “What I can offer is our understanding and our compassion for the challenge they face, and hopefully the vaccine supply will ease and grow significantly, so we don’t have to make this choice in the near future.”

“I’m hoping that he will change his mind about some of the plans that we have in place for vaccinating Maine’s population. Of course I’m very hopeful that I’ll receive a vaccine, very soon and that I can have some of that burden off my shoulders. I also hope that maybe this will make him consider the other people in similar positions to me,” said Potter.

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