AUBURN — With a packed bar, Brayden Bashaw, 18, granted a wish through Make-A-Wish Maine at his last Ornaments for Hope on Friday at Gritty McDuff’s Brew Pub. The wish was made possible with funds Brashaw raised at last year’s event.

Andrew Dumond’s wish was for a dirt bike, and after a process that took some time the 18 year old’s wish was granted Friday. Bashaw surprised Dumond with the dirt bike, which was parked on the Gritty’s back deck. Several people surrounded Dumond as he sat on the bike and gave the engine a celebratory rev.

Dumond had no idea he was receiving his wish when he arrived, he said. He was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in November 2022 after he developed a lump on his neck.

Brayden Bashaw, left, and Andrew Dumond pose for a photo with the dirt bike Bashaw raised funds for through Make-A-Wish Maine. Dumond, a childhood cancer survivor, wished for the bike. Kendra Caruso/Sun Journal

After the diagnosis, Misty Dumond said her nursing training kicked in and she was there through every treatment.

Dumond remained strong through the treatments, never missing a law enforcement class through the technical program he participated in.

His cancer is now in remission and it is likely that he will never develop it later in life, Misty said. He graduated from high school last spring and intends to become a police officer. He is a senior at Edward Little High School.


Andrew Dumond thinks Bashaw’s efforts to raise funds for children with serious illnesses is incredible, he said. “I know what high school is like and he’s out there doing this, raising money for a cause. It’s not even for him, it’s for other people. It’s awesome.”

As is his competitive nature, Bashaw always tries to make the event bigger each year, he said. But for the three-season varsity athlete nothing beats the feeling of helping others in need.

When Brayden, now a senior at Edward Little High School, was 9 his parents gave him $20 to be donated as an Elf on a Shelf activity. Unbeknownst to them, it planted a seed in him that has grown exponentially every year since. The following year he was pitching his parents the idea of a fundraising event, Ornaments for Hope.

His parents drove him to local businesses to solicit donations until he was old enough to drive himself, his father Travis Bashaw, said. The family’s spare bedroom is usually full of donated items by Thanksgiving each year. Travis has not stopped long enough to think about what he and his wife will do next year when they will not have an event to help plan.

The fundraiser has grown into a collaborative effort with local businesses, most of which have supported him every year, community members and friends, Travis said. The ongoing community support for the past nearly decade is a testament to the community’s gracious nature.

Bashaw first raised funds to give Christmas gifts to children at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital for the first two years, he said. When he connected with the Make-A-Wish Maine, he was inspired by their impact. He has raised more than $80,000 since he started and granted 11 wishes for Make-A-Wish children.


The organization solicits donations to give gifts to minors living with critical illnesses that are progressive, degenerative or malignant, according to Director of Mission Delivery Sonya Purington. Funds raised in Maine go toward qualifying Maine children.

The Lewiston/Auburn community is one of the most committed communities to Make-A-Wish Maine, she said. The average wish costs about $7,000 per child. There are 130 children waiting for wishes. Last year the organization granted 75 wishes in Maine and its goal this year is to grant 80.

Many of the children who qualify for Make-A-Wish gifts are going through treatments or therapies and the gifts often lift their spirits and sometimes give them reasons to work harder in recovery, she said.

Travis and his wife always participated in philanthropic events around Christmas, such as buying gifts for local kids in need, but he does not take much credit for Bashaw’s giving nature, he said. Much of it is just Bashaw’s personality but Travis and his wife always supported their son in his efforts, which is important for parents trying to instill a giving nature in their children.

“It is most important for parents to support your kids’ efforts,” he said. “Let them know that it’s good to give back. Not only does it make you feel good. If you are helping somebody else out and down the road, in your adult life, lessons like this will put you above others, if you learn these lessons at a young age.”

Bashaw cannot explain why helping others makes him feel so good, he said. Just because the annual Ornaments for Hope is ending does not mean he will stop giving and helping others. He intends to find other ways in which he can participate in philanthropic events and organizations — possibly continuing to work with Make-A-Wish.

He hopes to attend the University of New England to become a dentist, he said. He knew he wanted to work in the medical field from a young age but it was not until he got a little older that he settled on dentistry. He thinks it is a good profession where he can continue his philanthropic efforts throughout his life.

“I will 100% give back for the rest of my life. As long as I’m on this planet I will continue to give back in some way shape or form,” he said.

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