NORTHPORT and ISLESBORO, Maine (WABI) - In its sixth year, the Islesboro Crossing for LifeFlight filled to capacity just a few short days after registration opened, back when there was still snow on the ground and ice in the ocean. Now that we're in the throes of Maine's summer, swimmers and paddlers from across the country are gearing up for the open water swim event scheduled for Sunday, August 12, 2018.
The 150 swimmers are gathering pledges, buying wetsuits and taking to the open water. Another 150 paddling participants are lining up to support their swimmers, and volunteers are signing up to lend a hand. Sponsors like Camden National Bank, Viking Inc., Hannaford Supermarkets, Eaton Peabody, Coastal Alliance Healthcare, and Spectrum Healthcare Partners are offering financial support.
Why are so many people eager to be a part of this fundraising opportunity? This distinctive event focuses on both the challenges and the rewards of living in a rural state with thousands of miles of coastline, millions of acres of forest and farmland, and more than 3,000 islands.
"Each year Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital rely on the vital, lifesaving services provided by LifeFlight of Maine," explained Mark Fourre, MD, President and CEO of Coastal Healthcare Alliance. "Coastal Healthcare Alliance is committed to this important partnership and is proud to continue our sponsorship of the Isleboro Crossing."
Visiting and living in rural Maine, especially on one of the state's islands, is a unique experience. It offers solitude, natural beauty, and small, tight-knit communities. But the time and distance to specialized medical care is formidable-especially in an emergency.
The swimmers and paddlers making their way across Penobscot Bay are physically overcoming that distance. The journey is symbolic of the difficulties in accessing critical care in emergencies, and also a way to support LifeFlight, just one of the many organizations that help to overcome those challenges.
Here at LifeFlight, we're grateful for the support we receive from both local and statewide businesses who recognize the value of an emergency helicopter service, especially in a rural state like Maine.
"The Islesboro Crossing is an incredible community event, and we're proud to be a Beacon Sponsor of the swim for the fourth year," said Greg Dufour, president and chief executive officer of Camden National Bank. "LifeFlight of Maine plays a critical role in keeping our communities safe and healthy, and we're inspired by all of the swimmers, paddlers and volunteers who raise funds for making an emergency medical helicopter service possible in Maine."
Kayak Drop-off takes place between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday. A mandatory safety meeting is at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Roll Call is at 6:45 a.m. Sunday and the swim begins 7 a.m. Sunday.
The swim begins at Point Lookout in Northport and ends at Grindle Point in Islesboro.
Full event information including maps, safety tips, ferry information and a full schedule is available at islesborocrossing.org.