AUGUSTA — Kate McPherson thought she was there to support Make-A-Wish Maine’s cause.

But while waiting in the drizzling rain Saturday morning behind the Augusta Eagles Club for the charity motorcycle ride to start, the event organizers surprised McPherson with a limousine carrying her family members and a pickup truck towing her wish: a new dirt bike.

“I honestly had no idea. I was not sure what they had planned for me at all,” said McPherson, 17, of Litchfield, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma earlier this year. “I was just so surprised.”

“I’ve wanted it my whole life,” she added. “I’ve always loved dirt bikes.”

The 100-mile charity motorcycle ride was the fifth annual ride the Fraternal Order of Eagles 3137 has held to raise money for Make-A-Wish Maine. The ride, along with a smaller event earlier this year, raised more than $9,000 for the foundation that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions, according to Rhonda Carver, co-chair of the event.

The group raised about $50,000 for the foundation in the last five years, Carver said, but this was the first time a wish was granted at the event. Around 65 to 70 people rode this year.

Make-A-Wish Maine grants a wish every five days on average, according to its website. The average cost of a wish is $6,000.

McPherson was diagnosed with childhood Hodgkin lymphoma on March 17, her mother said.

“It was difficult — I think more for me,” said Judy McPherson, 55, of Litchfield. “She seemed to roll with it.

“One of the first things she said was, ‘I’m going to beat this for Grammy,’ who had passed away from pancreatic cancer in March, seven days before (Kate) went to the emergency room.”

Judy McPherson said her daughter is starting her fifth of six chemotherapy cycles at the end of this week.

“We’re looking at hopefully November, she’ll be cancer free,” McPherson said.

Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that begins in cells of the immune system, according to the National Cancer Institute. More than 9,000 people will be diagnosed with the diseased this year, according to the institute.

Judy McPherson said since the disease often targets young adults, it can be difficult to understand as a mother.

“But she’s tough and she’s so positive,” she said of her daughter. “She hasn’t lost her humor for a moment, and she just enjoys life. Proud of her.”

Paul Koenig — 621-5663
[email protected]

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