Maine Medical Center has announced $10.5 million in donations from two Maine families. The funding is being used to build two new floors for the oncology department and a heliport for critical patients coming in from across the state.
Paul and Gislaine Coulombe - along with their daughter Michelle Coulombe-Hagerty - have pledged $7.5 million, the largest gift from a single family that Maine Med has ever received.
At a press conference, Paul Coulombe choked up when recounting his wife's battles with cancer and life-threatening infections, all of which were treated at Maine Med.
"In 2016, we unfortunately discovered that my wife had ovarian cancer," he said, "but we had the best surgeon on staff, thanks to Rich Peterson, and they were able to isolate it."
The Coulombes live in Boothbay, and he says his family was impressed by Maine Med's reach throughout the state.
The money will be used to continue renovations and construction on Maine Med’s hospital in Portland, which includes two heliports and adding space for more patients. Maine Med CEO Richard Petersen calls the donation "transformative."
“As the tertiary hospital, frankly, for the state of Maine, it's core to who we are,” Petersen says. “We are to take care of the sickest patients, not just in greater Portland, but throughout the state.”
Their gift comes alongside another $3 million donated by Linda and Diana Bean. The Linda and Diana Bean heliport will sit atop the renamed Coulombe Family Tower, allowing for quicker care and reducing bottlenecks in waiting rooms.
Eliana Miller and Julie Pike are 2019 Maine Public Interns.