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A young girl's wish is granted

A happy Gilford family including John and Katie Guest and their daughter Ella, 6, just recently granted an ultimate wish, pose by a Gilford Fire Rescue truck alongside Ella’s brother Connor and twin sisters Caroline and Madeline. Lauren Tiner. (click for larger version)
February 23, 2011
Community members joined forces with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to ensure that Ella Guest, 6, and her family had an unforgettable farewell while departing for a Disney cruise Friday morning.

Gilford police cruisers, state police, and fire engines from Gilford, Laconia, Belmont, and Tilton-Northfield Fire Departments escorted Ella Guest, her parents Katie and John, her brother Connor, and her twin sisters Caroline and Madeline, all riding along in a stretch limousine.

Grandparents, neighbors, emergency personnel, and Make-A-Wish representatives stood outside the Guest's Gilford home with an energetic golden retriever last Friday morning to support Ella and her family, while granting her wish – a Disney cruise.

Ella battles a chromosome disorder named Trisomy 10q, which can cause slower physical and mental development in infants and children.

Police officers and family members hugged Ella as she jumped up and down with joy, touring her limo and greeting loved ones. Her mother, Katie Guest, said Ella was also pleasantly surprised to see the fire trucks; she has visited Gilford Fire Rescue several times.

Guest said she knew a Gilford police cruiser would be leading the way to Exit 20 in Tilton, where the family would depart and make their way toward the airport, yet she didn't realize the caliber of town departments that planned to participate Friday.

As the family passed Gilford Elementary School on their way to the airport, cruisers and trucks honked their horns and ran their sirens for GES teachers who stood outside to wave goodbye to Ella and her family, wishing them the best on their well earned trip.

CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Hampshire, Julie Baron said that Ella's life threatening medical condition allowed her to grant a special wish.

Baron, a resident of Gilford, is also Ella's wish granter along with her husband Chip Baron and wish granter Steve Donovan.

"We didn't expect this many people either; we thought this was a one-car ride," said Baron, who had contacted Gilford Police Chief John Markland to escort the guest family to the airport in style.

Markland made it a point to involve the Gilford Fire Department, which then gathered up more volunteers from surrounding fire stations to join in on the ride, more than happy to sport Make-A-Wish logos on their trucks with Ella's freshly printed name.

Her name will join the almost 1,000 other names which belong to children in New Hampshire also with life threatening medical conditions, fortunate enough to see their dreams come true through the same foundation.

"These things happen once in a lifetime," said Chip Baron, as Make-A-Wish volunteers gathered outside the Guest family home. "These families work as a network to take care of the illnesses of this one child. Families don't feel so alone when the community is behind them."

Baron said there is nothing more powerful for wish families when it comes to sharing their stories with families in similar situations, and Make-A-Wish does its best to ensure that these families can make a connection with one another.

Ella's grandparents Anne and Gerald Guest of Laconia also said farewell on their granddaughter's special day. Anne Guest said this experience has meant the world to her family, and her grandchildren have talked about the Disney cruise non-stop since Ella was granted her wish.

"This means a lot to Ella," said her mother Katie Guest, teary eyed Friday morning. "She will have a lot of fun with her family. She has been talking about this for months. The whole community is excited about this and has supported us."

According to statistics, the New Hampshire Chapter of Make-A-Wish has granted 920 wishes to date and 100 wishes to children from 2010-2011. Each wish, considered to be the individual child's answer to the question, "If you could have anything, be anything, go anywhere, do anything, what would you choose?," comes at an estimated cost of $10,000 per wish and is covered mainly by donations from individuals and corporations.

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