MADISON — Michael Welcome isn’t going to mind the next time his mother sends him to his room.

Michael, a 15-year-old sophomore at the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences at Good Will-Hinckley, has a new room — complete with black carpeting, black and red paint, a new bed, rock posters on the wall, a computer desk, television, a bureau and a new armoire for his clothes.

It was a wish come true.

On Tuesday, Michael, who has had cystic fibrosis since he was a newborn, became the latest Wish Kid from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The wish was made possible by Skowhegan Savings Bank, which not only funded Michael’s wish but also had volunteers at Michael’s home Tuesday putting the finishing touches on the room.

“I think I’m going to be living in here for the rest of my life,” Michael said, looking around his room painted in red and black to match his taste in heavy metal rock music. Posters from the bands Black Veil Brides and All Time Low added just the right touch of metal to the scene.

“I don’t know what to say,” Michael said. “Honestly, it’s overwhelming to see all this just for me. I’m pretty sure I’m floating on this carpet.


“Wow. Overwhelming. Unbelievable.”

Tuesday came to a close almost like any other day at school for Michael, except for the black stretch limousine that picked him and about seven of his friends and his little brother up and took them for a ride around town.

His friends had to fib when asked why they had stayed after school with Michael, knowing the limo was waiting. Meanwhile at the house, a dozen or more volunteers, friends and family members rushed in a flurry of activity, vacuuming, putting up music decals and adding the final touches on Michael’s new room.

“I’m speechless — I have no words,” his mother said as the time for the arrival of the limo approached. “It’s incredible. Remarkable. These people are amazing. Amazing.”

Dan Tilton, senior vice president of sales at Skowhegan Savings Bank, said the bank sponsored the wish for Michael.

“The bank supports Make-A-Wish in the state of Maine for kids and all they do for kids that have these tremendous needs. The bank was just fortunate to be part of this wish,” Tilton said.


Tilton said Michael knew he was getting a room makeover but didn’t know it was being unveiled Tuesday.

“He has no idea what’s going on today,” Tilton said before Michael and his entourage arrived. “It’s an exciting time for this young man.”

The average wish for each child is about $5,000 to $6,000, said Sherrie Doyon of Winthrop, a wish granter who interviewed the family and followed through with all the preparations needed to be completed for the wish to become a reality.

“After all that, we have the ‘Wish Reveal,’ — today is the wish reveal day,” she said.

Michael’s parents, William and Rita Welcome, said his illness is controlled with dozens of daily medications, nebulizers and other treatments. Rita Welcome said the cystic fibrosis clinic applied to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for Michael’s room makeover and it was granted.

Also on hand Tuesday was Jack Ducharme, a Madison selectman and manager of the Madison branch of the bank.


“I think it’s awesome,” Durcharme said. “It will make a young man’s life easier. It’s just a great effort, and we’re happy to do it.”

Just after 4 p.m. Tuesday the big black limo crept up to the house on Golf Course Road and stopped. A group of teenaged boys and girls piled out of the limo and into the yard, where about 20 well-wishers greeted them with applause.

Adding to the possibility of future heavy metal sounds banging from Michael’s new room were Bobby and Rhonda Bishop. The Bishops wrapped a new surround-sound stereo system in black and red paper and presented it to Michael.

“Thank you so much, honestly,” Michael said to the Bishops.

Black Veil Brides await.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367


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