Barbara Bush's legacy will endure at hospital that bears her name
PORTLAND (WGME) - Here in Maine, Barbara Bush is known for supporting many causes, from literacy to health care for children and families.
No one knows that better than the people who have received care at the hospital that bears her name.
Children have always held a special place in Mrs. Bush's heart. That's especially true for children at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center, including two young heart patients.
"Mrs. Bush came to read to everybody," said Cheryl Herbert.
For Herbert and her seven-year-old daughter, Avery, Barbara Bush and the children's hospital that bears her name hold special places in their hearts.
"The fact that Mrs. Bush helped make that hospital possible is amazing to us,” said Herbert. “Candidly, it saved Avery's life.”
Doctors performed open-heart surgery on Avery when she was ten days old, the first of ten surgeries on her before age two.
"I want to thank her for all that she's done for me and for other children in the hospital that's named after her," said Avery.
Five years ago, Mrs. Bush was visiting with Avery in the hospital and gave her a bracelet that was given to her after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
"How about if I give you Sandy Hook, would you like that?” Bush asked her during that visit. “You can try. You can have it. This is for little boys and girls and teachers and that's yours."
"This was really amazing because it's from sandy hook and it has the tree of life on it,” Herbert said. “I took that at the time as a sign that life for Avery is going to go on."
"For open heart surgery, I've been in the hospital three times,” said Ashlynn Wescott, another BBCH patient, for home the hospital has also been a lifesaver.
Her heart also goes out to the former First Lady for all the love and compassion she's shown children.
"Without her, I don't think we'd have the children's hospital," said Ashlynn’s mother, Kristen Wescott.
"She is a really a caring person,” added Ashlynn. “And I think she really loves children and cares for kids who are sick and who aren't. And I think it's really cool how her name is on a hospital and how the hospital has done so much for the kids."
"There need to be more Barbara Bushes in this world,” added Herbert. “And we're just lucky we got to meet her."
Families say if it weren't for the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital, they would have had to go to Boston or farther for the surgeries and care for their children.