August 16, 2013

Fundraiser to benefit boy who inspired Bush head-shaving

By Matt Byrne
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNKPORT — The Kennebunkport Historical Society will donate all of its Saturday admission proceeds to help a boy with cancer, who inspired former President George H.W. Bush to shave his head last month.

click image to enlarge

Former President George H. W. Bush sits with Patrick, 2, whose last name was withheld at the family's request, in Kennebunkport in this July 24, 2013, photo. Bush joined members of his Secret Service detail in shaving his head to show solidarity with Patrick, who is undergoing treatment for leukemia and is losing his hair as a result.

AP / Office of George Bush

The 2-year-old boy, Patrick, is the son of a Secret Service agent who accompanies the eldest Bush to his compound in Kennebunkport each summer. The 41st president shed his locks -- along with the 26 other members of the detail, a gesture of solidarity with the ailing child.

"When I saw what President Bush had done with little Patrick, it occurred to me that the historical society has just opened the first family's museum," said Rich Litchfield, president of the society's board of directors. "It would be a way to do a good thing for Patrick, but also raise awareness in the community that we're open for business."

The society, located in an 1853 Greek revival house on Main Street, has converted a portion of its facility to capturing the Bush clan's time in Maine, from the family's early origins there to the more recent evolution of the Walker compound into the former president's summer retreat.

The exhibit, "First Families: From Sea Captains to Presidents," spans the town's maritime history and incorporates aspects of the presidential family's presence.

The museum will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $7, and 100 percent of the collected funds will be donated to Patrick's Pals, a fund established to benefit the boy. 

Patrick's situation hit close to home for Bush, who served as president from 1989 to 1993. Bush and his wife, Barbara, lost their second child, a 3-year-old daughter named Robin, to leukemia 60 years ago this October, according to a Bush family spokesman.

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