In only its fourth year, the Islesboro Crossing for LifeFlight filled to capacity just a few short days after registration opened, back when there was still snow on the ground and ice in the ocean.

Now that warmer weather has finally arrived, swimmers and paddlers from across the region are gearing up for the open water swim event scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20.

The 100 swimmers have been gathering pledges, buying wetsuits and hitting the pool. Another 100 paddling participants are lining up to support their swimmers. Volunteers are signing up to lend a hand. Sponsors like Camden National Bank, athenahealth, SevenBar Aviation, Jo Ellen Designs, Sidecountry Sports and MaineSport are offering financial support.

Why are so many people eager to be a part of this fundraising opportunity? This distinctive event, which offers an exceptional experience for the athletes involved, focuses on both the challenges and the rewards of living in a rural state with thousands of miles of coastline, millions of acres of forest and farmland, and more than 4,000 islands.

Living in rural Maine, especially on one of the state’s islands, is a unique experience. It offers quiet, solitude, natural beauty, and small, tight-knit communities. But the time and distance to specialized medical care is formidable — especially in an emergency.

The swimmers and paddlers making their way across Penobscot Bay are physically overcoming that distance. The journey is symbolic of the difficulties in accessing critical care in emergencies, and also a way to support one organization that overcomes those challenges: LifeFlight.

“As a community bank based in Midcoast Maine for more than 140 years, Camden National Bank understands both the benefits of living on the coast as well as the challenges often faced by our rural and island residents,” said Greg Dufour, president and chief executive officer of Camden National Bank. “Part of our mission is to help ensure that our communities remain a vibrant place to live and work, and we believe that supporting LifeFlight and the lifesaving medical service and care it provides for all of our neighbors is an important piece of this. We are very proud to partner with this great organization for another year and look forward to a very successful event.”

Local healthcare company athenahealth has also supported the event for the last two years, providing food and meeting spaces at Point Lookout Resort free of charge.

“For all of us living here in this beautiful and rural state of Maine, it’s quite realistic to think that any one of us might need this service at any given time,” said David Tassoni, senior vice president of athenahealth. “Due to the importance of LifeFlight of Maine and the work they do for the people of our state, we are glad to support them and the medical services that they provide to our local communities.”

Volunteers and sponsors who would like to be a part of this event can learn more at, choose to support an individual swimmer, or make a general donation to the event. Businesses, boat owners and individuals can also become sponsors. There are unique opportunities available to be part of the Spirit Fleet or appear on the Islander Honor Roll.

Those who wish to participate on the day of the event can register to volunteer or hop on the ferry in Lincolnville, head for Islesboro and help welcome swimmers across the finish line.

To learn more about LifeFlight, visit or call 230-7092.