Young hero in Guilford gets his wish
GUILFORD — Piscataquis Community Elementary School kindergartener Abel Richardson thought he was attending a Winter Carnival kickoff assembly when he was called to the front of the cafeteria for a surprise presentation on Wednesday.
Abel, who has undergone chemotherapy and continues to receive treatments for an inoperable brain stem tumor, jumped up on stage in front of family, friends and schoolmates.
“We understand that you’re really into superheroes,” Make-A-Wish Maine Executive Director Kate Vickery said to the boy. “We at Make-A-Wish know you are a very brave Superman and you’ve been battling a brain tumor and it’s been really tough but you’ve been super brave.
“We think every brave superhero who has gone through what Abel has gone through should have their very own superhero title so we got Abel his own cape,” Vickery said, presenting the boy with a light blue garment with an A on the back representing “Super Abel.”
Vickery then said to the assembly, “We got some real heroes, some of your local community heroes, to help us give back to Abel.”
The assembly moved outside and a vehicle procession featuring the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office and Guilford Fire Department looped around in front of the school with a go-kart in the rear.
Lisa Richardson helped her excited 6-year-old son with his helmet for Piscataquis County Sheriff Robert Young to push him down the driveway and back on his first ride in his new go-kart.
“It’s really good,” Abel said. He thanked Make-A-Wish Maine and said when he gets home he plans to “drive it around the whole town.”
Abel said he knows the go-kart will go very fast and “it has a big engine.”
“Any day he gets a good day is perfect, he goes through a lot of course,” Lisa Richardson said.
She said a year ago her son was diagnosed with Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma, a tumor on the brain stem. “It’s inoperable but he’s been doing a chemo for a year, he has three treatments left,” Richardson said. “His last MRI we did have a little bit of shrinkage so that’s good, we’re hoping for more. We have three treatments left and then we’ll have another MRI and then we just monitor it every 12 weeks with MRIs and keep going.”
Richardson thanked her son’s supporters, “I have a great family, an awesome community. He has the best school, the best friends. We’re lucky, he’s got a great support system.”
She said her son was not expecting anything. “He had no idea, and of course they came and talked to him months ago about something he would like to have and he said ‘a go-kart” but of course he had no idea about today, he thought today would just be Winter Carnival.”
Richardson’s go-kart is the 1,500th wish granted by Make-A-Wish Maine since 1992, Vickery said.
In the cafeteria Vickery described the importance of carrying out good deeds for those who are sick to the students. “At Make-A-Wish we think it’s really important that kids who are battling really serious illness, when they are feeling bad to do something nice for them,” she said. “So we have a really fun surprise and we would like you all to celebrate with us today.”
The Scarborough-based Make-A-Wish Maine has a mission of creating life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses and staff and volunteers work to bring every eligible child’s wish to life because they believe a wish is an integral part of the treatment journey. Their research shows children who have wishes granted can build the physical and emotional strength needed to fight a critical illness.
Together, generous donors, supporters, staff, and volunteers in Maine grant one wish every five days. All money raised in the state stays in Maine, and all wish expenses are fully covered by Make-A-Wish. More information is at www.maine.wish.org.