Dover-Foxcroft produces life-long friendships

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — In life, it has been said, “If you find one or two good friends to depend on you are lucky.” The trials we face, sometimes can be self imposed, yet others we have no control over.
In November 2016, I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. This story is less about that and more about the bonds of childhood friendships from Dover-Foxcroft, Maine.

I grew up in Dover-Foxcroft, playing basketball for SeDoMoCha Junior High and for Foxcroft Academy until 1984. If you grew up in Dover-Foxcroft, you will recognize the benefits we had of cultivating strong friendships, merely because of the days, weeks, school years and summers with local friends.

In 1979, I met Judy (Champeon) Cook. She was a scrappy little sixth-grader, determined to make the A squad team. Her infectious laugh and spunky ways drew everyone to her. We had two years of high school ball together, until I graduated in 1984. After that time, our paths would not cross again, until I was diagnosed with cancer this past fall.

The “crew” of the 1980s was back together again, after 32 years merely because I had cancer. As I prepared for hair loss, my younger friend Judy, now a school teacher, exclaimed she was shaving her head with me. Side by side, almost 33 years later, determined to support me, my teammates have rallied around me.

My basketball and softball teammates, classmates, childhood friends, neighborhood kids and various families have helped me during this time. How did I get so lucky? I say it’s because I am from Dover-Foxcroft, born and raised and I can’t think of a better place to be from.

The environment is special, the memories are priceless, especially those on Sebec Lake. If you were lucky enough to be born and raised here, you will understand exactly why I wanted to write this and show these pictures. Little kids grow up, we move on, we grow up and nothing prepares anyone for trials and hardship. Without hesitation, Judy shaved her head, lessening the burden of my awkward hair loss. Greater love hath no woman that she shaves her head for a friend. True character is shown by the deeds and actions of your heart.

I lived 20 years in the city only to return to see such great character in many people from my childhood, bonds that were cultivated by the community that we grew up in. There’s a saying you have to go away and come back to appreciate what Dover-Foxcroft has to offer. I say there’s no place on earth I would rather be, standing with my community and friends but most of all being with old teammates and friends has proven the best medicine for me. My words cannot express what this community means to me during this time, but I thank each of you for being a community that we can be proud to be a part of.

Photo courtesy of Julie Pingree
ENDURING FRIENDSHIPS — Dover-Foxcroft native Julie Pingree, second from right, praises her hometown and the people in it for supporting her after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in November. Pingree is pictured with the “crew” from the 1980s including Judy (Champeon) Cook, middle, who shaved her head in support of Pingree. From left are Lisa (Robinson) Richardson, Kristen (Speed) Forest, Cook, Pingree and Karen (Clark) Snow.

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