Support Dr. Peter Leighton and Family

Just after Christmas 2002, Peter had his very first seizure. This would be the beginning of an almost 20 year battle (so far) against brain cancer- specifically a Grade 2 Oligodendroglioma. At this time he was in his 4th year of medical school and his first wife was pregnant with their first daughter, Sophia. The plan at that time was to watch and wait. In 2008, it was recommended that he have an open craniotomy followed by chemotherapy with temazolomide and radiation. He had just started his career as a hospitalist physician at Central Maine Medical Center (January 2007) and his daughters Sophia and Nadia were five and two. After 15 months of treatment, he continued to improve and scans were every six months. Things started to feel "normal" again.

In 2012, Peter and Kim were set-up by a mutual friend on a blind date. From the very beginning, they were a perfect match. They spent a few months together, traveling over an hour to see each other and later introduced their children who at the time were 2, 4, 5, 6 and 9. As I’m sure you can imagine, this was a fun and busy time as they adjusted to life together and continued to fall in love. Kim’s children, Reiyn, Wildr, and Aurora warmed up to Peter instantly and their lives continued to progress. In 2013, they decided to move their family together to Bridgton, Maine. Peter became a primary care doctor and Kim continued to teach in the community. They loved the beauty and the slower pace of the Lakes Region and this is also where Peter grew up. Over the next 8 years, Peter and Kim became heavily involved in their community. Peter and the police chief founded The Lakes Region Substance Use Coalition in 2015, and Kim served as the board secretary for four years. Peter’s love for working with patients with substance use disorder became his passion and he was asked to be a part of many meetings, forums, boards, etc. including the United Way in order to provide his expertise. In 2019, he became board certified in addiction medicine and started a full-time practice at Central Maine Healthcare. 

In May of last year, during a birthday parade at their home, Peter received a call from his doctor letting him know that his scan showed progression of his tumor. In an instant their world was turned upside down. Because it was difficult to tell if was tumor or radiation necrosis, he was scheduled for a brain biopsy. The brain biopsy confirmed that it was indeed a grade 3 anaplastic tumor (only 3 grades for oligodendroglioma tumors). He had his second craniotomy on September 1st, and took five weeks off of work in order to recover. In October, he went back to work full-time and started PCV chemotherapy (Procarbazine, CCNU, Vincristine). This is 3-step regimen with one being an infusion, so he had to have a port placed. He continued to work full time and finished almost 4/6 cycles.

On February 17, while at the mall with his daughters Reiyn and Nadia, he had a seizure in the bathroom. He was taken by ambulance to Maine Medical center and was admitted to the ER and later the neuro-ICU overnight. Due to Covid restrictions, Kim was not able to be with him in the ICU. After being discharged, his neuro-oncologist at MassGeneral Hospital (MGH) suspected that the seizure might be due to tumor growth underneath some micro-hemorrhages which were difficult to see on the MRI. It was decided that he would continue to finish his 4th cycle of PCV and have a follow up MRI in 5 weeks. During this time Peter struggled with word finding, short term memory loss, and was starting to feel confused more often and easily dazed. He had a neurocognitive psychological evaluation at MGH and it was recommended that Peter discontinue practicing medicine until further notice. This was devastating news to him and his team at Central Maine Healthcare as he is one of the only doctors practicing addiction medicine in the Bridgton area and for all of his cumulative training and accomplishments as a double board-certified physician. 

Last Thursday, after attending a high school ski team event, Peter, Kim and the kids were all gathered in the kitchen when Peter started having a grand mal seizure. The ambulance arrived within 20 minutes and took Peter to Bridgton Hospital. On the way there, he had another seizure. There was discussion of life flighting him to Maine Medical or MGH. Unfortunately it was too foggy to fly and there were no available beds at MGH.  He was transported to Maine Medical Center and stayed in the neuro-ICU for three nights. They adjusted his seizure medications and looked at the MRI that he had that morning at Bridgton Hospital. They were informed that the tumor in his left frontal lobe had increased in size and was now crossing the midline via the corpus callosum so the tumor also spread to the right frontal lobe. The increased swelling around the tumor likely caused the seizure. He was given a steroid called dexamethasone which improved his cognition and executive functioning and he was feeling more like himself before he left the hospital on Sunday. 

After meeting with MGH on Wednesday, he was given a two to three month prognosis if he doesn't do any further treatment including PCV chemotherapy. Of that time, two to three weeks would likely pass until his cognition starts to decline again. He plans to start Avastin (infusion via his port) on Monday and is trying to get approved quickly for the experimental drug Keytruda. Although these are not curative treatments, they are hopeful that it will double his prognosis. His family is deeply saddened by this news and are taking the time that they need at home to set some family goals and wishes, while planning for the difficult months ahead. Peter has been out of work since February 17th and Kim, a child life specialist in private practice - Play Warriors, Inc., is now taking time off of work in order to take care for Peter at home. While they transition to learning more about how to navigate their finances and what they qualify for, it would be helpful for them to have a income buffer while applications are in process so they can still pay their bills and keep things as normal for their family as possible. 

Dr. Peter Leighton has done so much for his community, now it is time for us to give back the love that he so willingly shared with us. 
In addition to your donation, if you would like to help in some other way, including meal delivery, etc. please contact Kim's mother, Linda by text at [phone redacted]. They are allowing for some close family and friends to visit although due to Covid, they are being cautious. If you would like to send a video message to Kim on FB, please feel free to do so and she will play it for Peter. You can also send cards to 278 Middle Ridge Rd., Bridgton, Maine 04009. 


  • William Parcellin
    • $150 
    • 16 mos
  • Christopher King
    • $250 
    • 17 mos
  • Ellen Cunion
    • $25 
    • 17 mos
  • Susan Belmer
    • $25 
    • 17 mos
  • Andreana Centamore
    • $25 
    • 17 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Sara Beth
Organizer
Bridgton, ME
Kimberly Leighton
Beneficiary

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