Braden Hutchinson, his mother, Alexis Wardwell, and his father, Jason Hutchinson, look over some of the gifts he received Friday afternoon, including the pop-up camper, background, given by Make-A-Wish Maine. The Dixfield boy, who has leukemia, was driven in a stretch limousine from his home in Dixfield to his aunt’s house in Lewiston for the  surprise reveal. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON  – Braden Hutchinson, 3, of Dixfield was surprised Friday with a pop-up camper and a week’s stay in Bar Harbor, all thanks to Make-A-Wish Maine and its supporters.

The young boy, who loves Mickey Mouse, broccoli, playing outside and swimming at the beach, has leukemia.

This summer he and his family went camping for the first time, prompting Braden to wish for gear so they could camp at the ocean.

Make-A-Wish Maine, which grants requests to children diagnosed with a life-threatening medical conditions, went to work. Supported by volunteers, Scott’s Recreation, VIP Tires and Service, and Adopt-A-Wish partner Fontaine Family – The Real Estate Leader, the organization provided a pop-up camper, gear, and a week’s stay at Bar Harbor Oceanside KOA.

On Friday, Braden was driven in a stretch limousine from his home to his aunt’s house in Lewiston. He was greeted by a cheering squad, motorcyslists and other well-wishers gathered for the surprise gift presentation.

Make-A-Wish Maine CEO Kate Vickery said the nonprofit organization continues to see a flurry of gift and construction-oriented wishes this summer as travel considerations keep wish families safe at home.

“Many of the children we work with feel isolated and disconnected due to their illness, treatments, and hospitalizations, Kate Vickery said. “The pandemic makes this even more trying for them. We’re honored to continue to grant wishes like these during a time when wish kids need joy and positive distractions more than ever.”


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