"a personal connection"
Grahamtastic Connection was featured in this
Life article in December 2008:
a personal connection
In the morning, Miro Bolduc, a 20-year old art
student who lives with his father in Litchfield, wakes up, turns on
his laptop, and checks his email. He wasn't always so connected,
which made his frequent trips to the hospital even worse and more
"We were coming back from getting my pick line," he says,
"and this woman told me, 'I have a brand new computer that's coming
for you.' I had never met the woman. I think I talked to her on the
phone for like 20 seconds. Literally, within two weeks, I had a Dell Vostro.
I put Word on it and installed [Internet-based phone service] Skype.
She ended up giving me two gigs of memory just so I could talk to my
mom in Texas."
The laptop was from Leslie
Morissette. She runs a nonprofit, Grahamtastic Connection, in
Springvale. It's one of only two programs she knows about nationwide
that provide critically ill young people with laptops.
The program started 11 year ago, after her son
Graham succumbed to cancer. "After I lost him, I was online with one
of his doctors who was helping with grief, and I thought, 'How
blessed I am to have the Internet.' There are other families that
didn't have that access. A light bulb sort of went off in my head:
'I wonder if I can help other families?'"
Morissette started lugging around computers and
setting up dialup connections for families in Maine. She knew
patients with comprised immune systems couldn't always receive
visitors or use communal computer terminals in hospitals, and she
knew how important it was for patients to stay connected to
teachers, friends and family, and doctors.
The program now has 250
computers, 50 of which were donated during a September appearance on
CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch. Students at Westbrook
Regional Vocational Center do the technical work refurbishing used
laptops. Then, the computers get to patients like Miro Bolduc.
look up medical terms and drugs," he says. "I'm very up on my
health. I try as hard as I can to know what's going on. Sometimes I
have arguments with nurses. But I just like to know myself. It helps
Port City Life / DEC 2008 / Photograph by Tim Greenway