MACHIAS, Maine — For Machias 14-year-old MacKenzie Schors, giving back and volunteering are by no means new concepts. On Saturday, August 1, she will be doing that in a different way, though -- taking to her metallic purple bicycle and peddling 10 miles from Archibald's One Stop gas station to the start of the Sunrise Trail off of Main Street and back.
"I love the feeling of giving back," MacKenzie expressed to NEWS CENTER Maine. The money raised in this particular fundraiser with the Children's Miracle Network Foundation will go toward the purchase of a new Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit ambulance at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.
Schors' original goal was to raise $1,000 -- and to her, that seemed lofty. About a week ago, though, she surpassed the $2,000 mark and hit the $3,000 mark earlier this week. Now, her funds (from online and in-person donations) are at a little bit over $3,100.
"It’s crazy," MacKenzie emphasized. "I mean, I didn't think that we would make it anywhere close to 1,000."
For her, there is a really personal reason that she feels so inclined to support the NICU in Bangor. In 2005, the Schors family spent months there after she was born 12 weeks prematurely.
"For us, the NICU was a lifeline," MacKenzie's mother, Wendy, told NEWS CENTER Maine. She says that in a time filled with so many unknowns, having the support and guidance of the doctors and nurses was invaluable. It's why ever since, she and her family have donated their time to raise money for the NICU and taken on projects like creating Christmas baskets for families staying there dring the holidays.
"We just wanted to always make sure that other people in those same circumstances could see a success story," Wendy explained.
For the Schors, MacKenzie is that success story -- and after she turned 10 years old, MacKenzie started taking on her own independent fundraisers. This year, she was named the Children's Miracle Network's 2020 Champion Child of the Year for Northern Light Health.
"It really drives us to want to make sure that we are raising the funds, helping kids that are in the hospital today and the days to come," Kelly Pearson, the director of Northern Light EMMC's Children's Miracle Network's program, about how children like MacKenzie inspire her team.
MacKenzie told NEWS CENTER Maine that she is considering following a NICU nurse career path after graduating high school.
To learn more about MacKenzie's fundraiser, click here. It closes Monday, August 3.