Donor Story: Sue Cook

Sue Cook first participated in the Cross for LifeFlight in 2021 and has every year since, logging miles and raising critical funds for LifeFlight of Maine. But her LifeFlight story began more than decade before that.

“I was on my way to a meeting in Boston, when I got a phone call that I needed to go to the hospital in Skowhegan where my husband was having a heart attack,” she recalled. That was 2009. “When I got to the emergency room, they said that a helicopter had been called.” Her husband, Jim, was flown by LifeFlight of Maine from Skowhegan to Bangor, where he received advanced cardiac care. Sue remembers an incredibly stressful few hours, during which Jim’s medical team suggested she call her children and tell them to come to the hospital.

That night, after Jim was flown to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, his condition began to improve. “I’m very grateful that he got the medical attention that he needed at the time he needed it,” Sue said.

Today, 15 years later, Jim and Sue live in Portland’s West End next to Maine Medical Center. They hear LifeFlight helicopters come and go all day and night. “Every time I hear it, I know that someone is getting the best care the can,” Sue said. “My disturbed sleep is nothing compared to the medical emergency that person is experiencing.”

Participating in the Cross for LifeFlight is how Sue has chosen to help make sure LifeFlight is there for the next family like hers that is facing an acute medical emergency. She says she picks an activity that she does regularly anyway, such as walking or hiking, and sets a mileage goal that challenges her a bit.

Raising money to support her Cross for LifeFlight goal is the easy part for Sue. “I reach out to a lot of different groups that I’m involved in,” she said, “my book group, my pickleball group, my friends. I love the swag. I wear the t-shirt, and I put the temporary tattoos on. All of these things allow me to have a conversation with people and point out that they probably know someone who has had a LifeFlight experience, or they will. People are very understanding and generous. People get it.”

Sue also chooses to support LifeFlight through the Cross for LifeFlight because it allows her to increase the impact of her own donation. “I think about my $100 donation. It becomes $2,500 or $3,500 because I’m leveraging all of my contacts in addition.”

“Do you have 35 friends who might give 10 dollars?” Sue said. “Break it out. Cast a wide net. Don’t assume that someone can’t make a gift to support this effort. They’ll be impressed when they hear what you’re doing to support LifeFlight.”

Click here to learn more and sign up for the Cross for LifeFlight!