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Fundraising underway for therapy pool in Augusta

Susanne Bouchard has been fundraising for the pool since the early 2000s but is still $300,000 short of her $1.4 million goal

AUGUSTA, Maine — A physical therapist is trying to open a warm water therapy pool in Augusta. 

Suzanne Bouchard went to physical therapy school in Germany where these pools are common and she hopes to help Mainers experience the benefits, too.

She is raising money for the pool any way she can: selling snacks, collecting bottles, and asking for donations on social media.

Patients at Bouchard's Waterville practice have used the YMCA pool there, and she is eager to provide her Augusta patients with the same ability.

"My research showed that the people in Waterville recovered so much faster when they were involved in the water therapy," she said.

Bouchard first started fundraising for a therapy pool in the early 2000s. Now, after two recessions, inflation, and supply chain shortages, she's still about $300,000 shy of her goal. Still, she's not giving up, not only for her patients but also for the entire Augusta community, especially for elderly residents.

"The older population in the winter, they cannot walk because the moment they get out of the house, there's the ice and the cold," Bouchard said.

City officials are patiently waiting for the Bouchard to finish her fundraising, too.

"Anytime we can partner with an outside agency, it can just help the city offer more to the people within the community," said Earl Kingsbury, who runs the city's community service programs.

To donate to the therapy pool, click here.