Hampden teen fighting Hodgkin’s lymphoma gets dream vacation thanks to Make-A-Wish

Posted April 06, 2013, at 6:07 a.m.

When 18-year-old Kelsey Price got out of school at Hampden Academy on Friday, she expected to go home, like she normally does. Instead, she and three of her friends were ushered inside a waiting limo, taken on a whirlwind scavenger hunt around Bangor, and then treated to a party celebrating the fact that Price’s wish was granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“They called my friend and I down to the office, and when that happens, everyone goes ‘Oooh!’ But we were like, ‘We’re good girls, we wouldn’t get in trouble for anything,’” Price said. “I had no idea. We thought we were going to drive ourselves, and then we saw the limo, so that was really, really awesome.”

Price, who in 2011 was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and has been battling it since, will next week travel to the Indian Ocean island nation the Maldives, where she will soak up the sun, go snorkeling and take a break from the stresses of everyday life. Wish-granters Mark and Tracey Beauregard of Hampden helped organize the day’s activities as a way to celebrate the granting of her wish.

“Well, at first I wanted to wish for our horse to be trained, but then they told me, ‘Wish bigger,’” she said. “And so I said I wanted a place where I could just relax for a week, and that’s what I’m getting, and I’m so excited. I never imagined we could go to a place like that.”

Price’s first stop on her scavenger hunt was the BDN Maine Garden Show and Spring Fling, which kicked off Friday afternoon at the Bangor Auditorium and runs through Sunday afternoon. While there, she visited eight exhibits and she and her friends voted on their favorite. The rest of the stops included Brogue Insurance, Mexicali Blues, House of Brides, Sargent, Tyler, West Insurance, Shaw’s Supermarket, and finally 11 Central, a downtown eatery, where she and her family and friends enjoyed a wish party.

Lisa Gleeson, communications manager for Make-A-Wish Maine, said that while travel and more specifically international travel make up many of the wishes the foundation fulfills, the Maldives is nevertheless an unusual destination.

“All of our wishes are unique and special, but this is definitely going to be a very unique wish for Kelsey and for us,” said Gleeson.

Price, who lives in Newburgh with her parents Leonard and Nancy, has been battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma since July 2011. In March, she filmed a video for the Stories of Survival art exhibit, in conjunction with the Penobscot Theatre Company’s production of the play “Wit,” in which she talked about her personal battle with cancer.

The Make-a-Wish Maine foundation will accept donated airline miles to defray the costs of air travel, as the foundation does not receive discounted airfare for its wishes. Those with airline miles to donate can do so online at the Make-A-Wish Maine website.

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