Fryeburg community rallies behind game warden

In past blogs I’ve told you a bit about Maj. Gregory Sanborn, the deputy chief of the Maine Warden Service, and his ongoing battle with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

Simply put: If Sanborn doesn’t receive a stem cell transplant, he will die.

Since April, many have pitched in on Sanborn’s behalf, organizing stem cell donor drives in Orono, Unity, and most recently, his hometown, Fryeburg.

On Wednesday I received an update on the Fryeburg event, which also included a benefit supper and fund-raising auction, from Rachel Andrews Damon. Damon calls herself “the publicity gal” for The Friends of Gregg Sanborn. This is some of what she had to say:

“[More than] 500 peopled showed up to eat and bid on auction items on Saturday night,” Damon wrote. “All items were donated by friends and included kayaks from Cabela’s and Saco Bound, a car, a hunting camp package, catering for 250, gift certificates and much more.

“[More than] 200 people arrived at the [Fryeburg Academy] gym on Sunday to become possible life-saving stem-cell matches for Sanborn,” she wrote. “Whether or not a match is found, all those tested will be entered in the worldwide donor bank and if matched will be available to help others in need.”

Organizers said $28,000 was raised, and the 200 people screened in Fryeburg join hundreds of others who were tested in Orono and Unity.

“The whole community came out to save someone’s life,” organizer Ellen Benson Guilford said in Damon’s news release. “I’m amazed and just so proud. Gregg was not only supported by his friends, colleagues and classmates, but by those of his parents and family as well.”

Guilford said Saturday’s dinner and auction drew together a diverse crowd from the Fryeburg community.

“People were there who hadn’t seen each other in 30 years,” Guilford said. “It was so great that Gregg was there too. He has been very sick and we weren’t sure he could be there — but it seemed to me he got energy from the rest of us. His color improved as the events went on. He was sitting on a cooler talking to people and laughing and telling stories with old friends. It truly felt like we were giving him life.”

We can hope that was the case … and that a match is found swiftly.

If you’re interested in learning more, or helping out in any way, you can call Guilford at 754-3143 or go to



John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.