Ricky’s football team at Maranacook Community High School in Readfield had long dreamt of a field with lights and bleachers. The focus of Ricky’s wish was to make this dream a reality.
Ricky, a sophomore at Maranacook and a member of the varsity football team, was diagnosed with Pontine Glioma, a malignant tumor in the brain stem that has progressed rapidly. While undergoing chemotherapy he decided that, out of all the wishes he could have, he would like to give something back to his football program.
Make-A-Wish Maine researched the cost of these field upgrades (lights and bleachers) with the hope that the entire project could be completed directly within the organization’s means. However, even conservative estimates of the cost to add bleachers and lighting to the Maranacook field came in at $200,000, a figure that Make-A-Wish Maine did not have the ability to reach. Alone.
Instead, the organization teamed with Maranacook Football, Inc., a community group that supports the high school football program to which Ricky belongs. A special fund dedicated to field upgrades was launched with Make-A-Wish as the initial donor, giving $6,000 (the average cost of a granted wish in Maine).
“All of the wishes from our Make-A-Wish kids touch our hearts in different ways,” said Tom Peaco, Executive Director at Make-A-Wish Maine. “Ricky’s wish touched us because his greatest wish is focused on giving to others, and to a group that is so special to him. While the fulfillment of his wish is well beyond our means as an organization, we are honored to lend our resources to launching a campaign to realize his dream.”
With donations from Musco Lighting, Central Maine Power and countless local community members, installation took place months after Ricky's initial wish and he was able to flip the switch before he lost his battle with cancer.
Ricky's town and teamates decided to name the field the Ricky Gibson Memorial Field, which is used today for event after event.