Lessons on the mannequins begin right away as Gorham senior Mikayla Martorano unloads them into wheelchairs with the help of other students. Chance Viles / American Journal

Westbrook Strong 5K donated three life-like medical mannequins Tuesday to the Westbrook Regional Vocational Center, where medical occupations students will use them to practice everything from wound care to bathing patients.

The mannequins join about seven others, though the others have seen better days, said instructor Noel Sherburne. The new mannequins have have darker skin tones, a break from the solely white mannequins, and add some realism to the students’ practices, he said.

“These are really nice, a lot more realistic and generally going to be better for our students. With these, they even practice talking and interacting with patients,” Sherburne said.

Mikayla Martorano, center, positions the “patient” while classmates wait to wrap it in warm blankets. Chance Viles / American Journal

Senior Mikayla Martorano of Gorham was happy to see the new mannequins arrive.

“These old ones are beaten, and this will help our education and actually utilizing the skills,” Martorano said.

Each mannequin costs about $1,000, according to Laurie Rairdon, co-founder of Westbrook Strong with her husband, Gary.

Rairdon’s daughter, Hannah, is a graduate of the medical occupations program and now works in a veterinarian’s office. The program helped her find her passion in the medical field, Rairdon said.

The Westbrook Strong 5K was founded and is held in memory of Laurie and Gary Rairdon’s son Matthew, a victim of domestic violence who was murdered in 2013. The nonprofit raises money for scholarships for Saint Joseph’s College nursing students from the Westbrook and Greater Portland area, inspired by Matthew’s passion for nursing, as well for other medical equipment like the mannequins and defibrillators that were donated to My Place Teen Center in 2019.

Matthew graduated from college’s nursing program. Recently, smaller scholarships have also been given to Westbrook High School students.

“We felt with the need for nursing staff and first responders these days, supporting these students who will be the medical professionals of tomorrow was best,” Gary Rairdon said. “These people in this program are all on their way to helping others.”

Westbrook Regional Vocational School medical occupations students pose with the newly donated mannequins Tuesday. At far right are Hannah Rairdon, in the red scrubs, and her parents and Westbrook Strong 5K founders Laurie and Gary Rairdon. Chance Viles / American Journal

Comments are not available on this story.