The life and memory of Melanie Stewart (second from left) is once again being celebrated this year with the purchase of the Lights of Life star in her memory by her family. Among those purchasing the star are her children from left) Trey, Meredith, and Grant Stewart. Also part of this gift are her parents, Tom and Sandy Gagnon, along with her sister Beth Williams and Beth’s husband, Mike. Lights of Life is an annual campaign to raise funds to support Northern Light Cancer Care in Presque Isle and the patients being treated there. (Courtesy photo)

PRESQUE ISLE — Northern Light AR Gould Hospital has kicked off its 2022 Lights of Life campaign.  Community members can honor and remember friends, family members, caregivers, and others who have been affected by cancer. Every dollar raised through Lights of Life supports cancer care services in Aroostook County.

This fundraising effort includes the sale of colored lights to help “brighten” the holidays for the hospital’s cancer patients and all those impacted by cancer across the region. Lights are being sold for: white, $10; red, $25; green, $50; Blue, $100; orange, $250, purple, $500. Of course, as with all Christmas trees, whether real or symbolic, there is a shining star to top it off.

One star is sold each year for a donation of $1,000. The star honoree is the featured individual for the year’s fundraising event. For the second year, the Lights of Life star has been purchased in memory of Melanie Stewart. Stewart lost her nearly four-year battle with cancer last year. 

The star was purchased jointly by Stewart’s children, Trey, Meredith, and Grant; her parents, Tom and Sandy Gagnon; and her sister, Beth, and brother-in-law, Mike Williams. 

“Mom’s light is still carrying on in all of us each and every day,” said her son Trey Stewart. “We still feel her presence and the impact on those she left behind. The star for the Lights of Life is a wonderful way to honor her memory and the light that she was during her time on Earth for so many as well as the inspiration she is now in Heaven.”

The family also wanted to provide support for both Northern Light Cancer Care, where their mother received her treatments toward the end of her illness, and for local cancer patients traveling through the same devastating journey their family went through.

“In past years, these funds have helped us purchase new equipment for patient care and supported our patient assistance fund. Patients are very appreciative of the help we can offer them through this fund, particularly with travel. Travel to and from their appointments can be costly and difficult for patients,” said Brenda Baker, manager of Northern Light Cancer Care in Presque Isle.

The names of all who are remembered or honored by the purchase of a light will be posted on the hospital’s website, which will be updated weekly throughout the campaign.  In the new year, all names will also be displayed on a plaque in the hallway of Northern Light AR Gould Hospital’s Cancer Care. Donations are being accepted through Dec. 31. Upon request, Lights of Life note cards will be provided for those who purchase lights and want to send a message to honorees or their families.

For more details or to purchase a light, visit northernlighthealth.org/ARGouldLights.