PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER Maine) — Three years of hard work has paid off at The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital.
Patients, staff, and volunteers worked hard to gather more than 2,000 signatures to get the hospital its own specialty license plate.
The idea for the plate came from Joe and Kim Westrich, whose daughter Madison received years worth of care at The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital. Her first appointment happened when she was two years old.
"We had the MRI and about 20 minutes into it is when Dr. Lorraine McGowen came out and told us it was a brain tumor and at that time they didn't know what type of brain tumor it was," said Kim Westrich.
Madison had the tumor removed the next morning. It turned out to be benign, but finding and removing it early was the best option according to doctors. She celebrated her 13th birthday this year and the entire family is thankful for the hospital that helped get her there. It's why they came up with the idea to get the hospital its own specialty license plate to raise money.
"Nurses would pop in 'how you doing? what can I get you?', so it wasn't just about Madison because we knew she was in good hands, but it was the care that we got as well," said Kim Westrich.
After the 2,000 signatures were gathered from supporters, it was up to the Maine legislature. They voted to approve the license plate earlier this year and Governor Paul LePage made it official with his signature the following day.
"I kept on thinking you know how long is it going to take to get this thing over the goal line so to speak and we kept pushing. The results were there, which is fantastic," said Maine Medical Center president and CEO, Richard Petersen.
A group gathered at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to see the license plate for the first time. Governor LePage shared stories about the former first lady whose name the hospital bares.
"She was Barbara Bush: woman, mother, friend and first lady," said Governor LePage.
You can get a specialty license plate when you register your vehicle. They cost $22 and the annual renewal fee is $15. $10 from every plate go directly to the hospital.