News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, May 22, 2014
Outreach aims to help Brooklin teen through tough times
Marathon expected to raise $10,000

Brandon Higgins, OJ Logue, Louanne Higgins and Barbara Logu

Brooklin, Maine residents Brandon Higgins, OJ Logue, Louanne Higgins and Barbara Logue after a Sugarloaf Marathon.

Photo courtesy of Brandon’s Recovery Facebook page

by Faith DeAmbrose

When Brandon Higgins of Brooklin was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in 2011, he was just a freshman at the Deer Isle-Stonington High School. He was initially given three months to live.

That was more than three years ago.

Facing an uphill battle as the tumor—which, for the last few years had remained dormant—has again begun to grow, fellow students are embracing Higgins and trying to send positive thoughts as the young student faces another round of treatments.

On Wednesday, May 14, the school, led by teacher Kim Larsen and her Peer Support group, organized an event, complete with a balloon release, to celebrate Brandon and to lift his spirits. “He is one of my students and he has been having a hard time with his new diagnosis and we wanted to do something positive and upbeat,” said Larsen.

On May 18, it was green and white day in honor of Higgins’ favorite sports team, the Boston Celtics. All the students wore green and white and the balloons that were released were also green and white. Also, green and white were more than 150 cupcakes baked with supplies donated by retailer Walmart.

After the balloon release, students came back to the school’s gymnasium and recorded a video for Higgins. They also presented him with a jersey made by the staff at Maine Camp Outfitters with his name pressed on the back.

The students “don’t really know how to approach it,” said Larsen, speaking of Higgins’ terminal condition, “and needed to feel that they could help in some way. We wanted to be able to give students a voice and to tell them that it is okay to talk about it.” She said Higgins, who will soon walk with his class during graduation ceremonies, “just wants to be treated like anyone else.”

OJ Logue and the Sugarloaf Marathon

Special Services Director OJ Logue came out of “retirement” to run last weekend’s Sugarloaf Marathon in honor of Higgins. The life-long runner, with a place in the Maine Running Hall of Fame, has a number of marathons under his belt, but it had been close to two decades since his last.

“It went pretty well the first 21 miles,” said Logue, after the race. “But then I had some problems with my blood sugar and it was a tough finish.” Logue also tripped just shy of the finish line and rolled his way across the line. “I wasn’t worried about my time, I just wanted to finish,” he added.

The duo has raised more than $8,000 to date for brain cancer research ahead of the marathon (donations are being accepted throughout May) and have set a goal of $10,000. Logue believes that goal can be obtained.

“It was an incredibly emotional experience,” said Logue, adding that he was most pleased that his gift—the gift of running—could be used to help others. He encouraged others to think of things they might be able to do, things within their reach that can make a difference.

Deer Isle-Stonington High School students released balloons in support of Brandon Higgins

Maine students at Deer Isle-Stonington High School dressed in green and white and released balloons in support of Brandon Higgins during an all-school event on May 14, 2014.

Photo courtesy of Lis Ingoldsby
Brandon Higgins, OJ Logue, Louanne Higgins and Barbara Logu

Brooklin, Maine residents Brandon Higgins, OJ Logue, Louanne Higgins and Barbara Logue after a Sugarloaf Marathon.

Photo courtesy of Brandon’s Recovery Facebook page