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Skiers support Valley teen fighting cancer

FORT KENT, Maine — Alpine and Nordic skiers in Fort Kent raised more than $2,000 in a fundraiser on Sunday occurring at two locations simultaneously, the Fort Kent Outdoor Center and at the Lonesome Pine Trails ski resort, for a St. Agatha teen who is currently in Portland receiving treatment for cancer.  

Patrick Parham, 15, a Wisdom Middle/High School freshman who skis with the Fort Kent Community High School Nordic ski team, received a diagnosis for lymphoma in early December.

Parham’s grandmother, MaryEllen Marruci, is raising the teen, and the family lives on a severely limited income.

Wisdom Middle/High School’s Patrick Parham glides around the track during his 1,600-meter race at the Aroostook League Middle School track meet at Caribou High School, May 2017. (Don Eno)

Carl Theriault, who coaches Parham on the ski team, organized Sunday’s event.

“Despite bitter cold weather on Sunday, more than 50 skiers and snowshoers showed up to ski laps on the T-bar at Lonesome Pine Trails, and log kilometers on the trails at the Fort Kent Outdoor Center to raise funds for Patrick Parham’s fight against cancer,” Theriault said.

Theriault also organized a movie fundraiser at Century Theater which took place on Thursday evening and brought in $1,400 in donations.  

“I am organizing these fundraisers, because Patrick is the nicest person who is polite, quiet and very unassuming, and he and his grandmother have very little and don’t have a car now to get around to his appointments,” Theriault said. “It’s a tough, tough situation. We’re trying to raise enough money to buy a car for (Marruci), and obviously Patrick needs a lot of medication.”  

Parham is also a cross country and a track and field athlete who began training in biathlon this past summer.

Parham is currently undergoing preliminary rounds of chemotherapy at Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, and next week will begin a five-month stretch of more intense chemotherapy sessions, Marruci said.

Marruci has been raising Patrick, who plans to become a farmer when he grows up, since he moved to the St. John Valley from Vietnam when he was 11 years old. Parham also plays saxophone in the Wisdom Middle/High School band and participates in theater.

“I really cherish him. He’s really very empathetic and concerned about other people,” she said. “All reports up to this point are very good, and his body is handling the medicine very well.”

Marruci added that doctors at the hospital told her that Parham’s prognosis is also positive. They said the five-year survival rate for his stage III lymphoma is 90 percent with proper treatment.

Charles Parham, Patrick’s brother, is spending his winter break from Colby College at the hospital with the family. The brothers have been playing video games and watching movies to keep Patrick Parham’s spirits up.

Dolcie Tanguay, a sophomore at Maine School of Science and Mathematics, participated in the ski fundraiser for Parham.  “Patrick is a good friend of mine, and I want to help him out as much as I can,” she said.

“I know Patrick from doing track and field and Nordic skiing with him in middle school. We also did some biathlon training together this summer,” she said. “He is very reserved, but super sweet once you get to know him. He is an incredibly hard worker and a great athlete.”

Tanguay and other local skiers sought individual and business sponsors to donate money on behalf of Parham for each kilometer they completed on the trails at the Fort Kent Outdoor Center or hill run they made at Lonesome Pine Trails on Sunday, Dec. 31.

Another of Parham’s teammates, Sam Johnson, participated in the event and also set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for Parham’s fight against cancer.

For more information, contact Carl Theriault at 631-9589 or theriaultcarl@hotmail.com.

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