It took a while, but we’re done. The paint is dry, the dust is swept away, and all our supplies finally have found a home. With all this done, we are ready to use our expanded space for more programs and events. We are reaching out to men, women and children with cancer, and the families and friends who love and support them.
There is room for so much more than before…more programs for more people, a larger library, a REAL kitchen for nutritional programs, small rooms for private consultation, a conference room for planning, and a new reception area.
Stop in after June 23 and see our new space and learn what we do and how we do it. Volunteer to help.
HISTORY – After Beth Wright’s death, her legacy, The Choose Life Foundation, grew to become The Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center, a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) that needed a physical home. A leading member of the Steering Committee, Dr. Molly Collins, was discussing the need to find a home with a friend and was referred to Lorraine and Joe Saunders who owned a building on High Street in Ellsworth. The Saunders were delighted to have the Center occupy the space and pay only heat and utilities in return.
The Center happily occupied the building on High Street for seven years until another irresistible opportunity presented itself. Beth’s husband Wayne Wright had purchased at auction an 1800 square foot commercial building in the Ellsworth Commercial Park and was willing to sell it to the Center at cost. Patrick Jordan was also at the auction and asked Wayne what he had in mind for the building. When Wayne told him that he was going to offer it to the Center at cost Patrick made the first contribution to what would become a Capital Campaign to purchase the building, $10,000.
The idea of owning our own place was not a new one to the Board of Directors of the Center. We had been discussing for three years many different possibilities for obtaining a central space for our administration of services to the various towns in Hancock and Washington counties where we had support groups and programs. And we had plans to expand our services at the core of our 5 year strategic plan. We had considered purchasing an already existing building or buying a lot and building or buying a lot and purchasing a modular unit or units to create the space we anticipated that we would need for our current and expanding services. The engine behind the drive to find a home of our own was the past Board President Dan Bahr who carried an ever-changing cardboard building plan with him at all times. We discussed and discussed plans.
When Dan moved away to another job in Waterville, we continued to talk until Wayne made the offer we could not resist. We knew we’d have to make an addition to the building when we hired additional staff. Michael Reisman, Executive Director, had been a one man show from the founding of the organization in 2004 until Roberta Macko was hired in 2010 part-time to supervise volunteers and programs. We also knew that we’d need to hire a professional fund raiser soon. We needed private office space as well as private discussion rooms for support groups and larger space for programs such as Yoga and Qi Gong.
Architect J. T. Loomis, a family friend, who works at Elliott and Elliott and Norelius Architecture in Blue Hill gave the Building Committee some pro bono time to help us envision more clearly what we needed for additional space at the Center. He designed an addition that was to become the new entrance and make the traffic pattern more efficient. Eventually his rethinking of the orientation of the building and addition led us to the modular design we created with Coastline Homes. The existing building and the modular addition will be joined by an on-site stick built reception area. As you read this, the modular unit has been ordered, site preparation is in the beginning stages, and soon we will have created our Ellsworth home.
At the back of our lot, adjacent to the addition, a memorial brick patio area and a Healing Garden will be developed. Our home is more than space for programs and administrative offices. It is a sanctuary for everyone on a cancer journey. We have concern for the physical comfort of those who participate in the various tension relieving programs that the Center offers and have included in-floor heating in the addition, just as we have in the main building. We’ve chosen tile floor finishing throughout cutting down on allergy problems for those with compromised immune systems. We’ve taken advantage of the brilliant light in that area of the lot to make the rooms cheerful and energy efficient and to give the Healing Garden the best exposure possible. Before the snow flies we hope to invite you to make our home your home and refuge.