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July 20, 2010 | last updated December 1, 2011 7:22 am
Portlandbiz

Maine Med rehab center to double in size

This story corrects an earlier version that misstated the name of the Harold A. Pingree Fund. We regret the error.

The rehabilitation center in the Barbara Bush wing at Maine Medical Center will get a little bigger and better thanks to the parents of a Falmouth teen who wanted to give back after doctors helped their child recover from a serious illness.

Jennifer and John Nolan, co-owners of Titan Mechanical Inc., an engineering design firm in Portland, gave Maine Med a $50,000 gift to expand the rehabilitation center a few months after their son, Weston, recovered from ADEM, or acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, an autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system, in April 2008.

John Lamb, Maine Med's communications director, says the Harold A. Pingree Fund donated another $30,000 to make the $80,000 project a reality. The project, slated for completion this September, will more than double the space to 325 square feet and add new equipment, toys and a Nintendo Wii game for therapy.

The Maine Medical Center submitted a project application to the city's building inspector in June. According to documents, the contractor is Herbert Construction LLC. The rehab center is staffed by six MMC employees.

Lamb says the benefits of the expanded facility are twofold. "It's a combination -- better environment and better equipment for the patients," who are primarily children. Lamb says the rehab center has 1,000 patient visits per year.

Jennifer Nolan says her family knows firsthand how the work done by doctors and physical therapists helped their son recover from an illness that left him temporarily paralyzed and unable to talk. Today, his mother says he is fully recovered.

"We are deeply, deeply grateful for the care he received there," she says. During his treatment, Weston Nolan told his doctors and physical therapists he wished the rehab center had more space and could let more natural light in, a wish Lamb says the hospital is granting. "The natural light in the room will more than triple," he says.

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