Athens Teen Helps Grant Wishes for Sick Children 

Madison High School students broke into a standing ovation during a routine assembly on Thursday.The cheers were for Sophomore Lanie Howes, a 15-year-old girl from Athens who is making wishes come true.During her freshmen year, Howes’ set a goal to raise $6,000, which is the equivalent of one wish for the make-a-wish foundation. But a year later, she’s actually raised over $12,000 – making dreams come true for two sick children.Events Planner for Make-a-Wish Maine, Rebecca Leaming said “We think that Laine has done an incredible job and it’s just so fitting she receives the Brendan Batson award for all that hard work she’s done.”Brendan Batson was a Fairfield Teen who raised money for the foundation until he was killed in 2001 in a car accident. The award is now given to a teen who shares the same passion: helping his or her peers. Brendan’s bother, Nathanael Batson said “This kid can have a wish, any wish they want, to help them through this life-threatening illness. It can make the kid’s day and makes them extremely, extremely happy.”Nathanael knows what it means to have a dream come true. Since his brother’s death, him and his sister were diagnosed with brain tumors and have both received their own wish through the foundation. Nathanael still lights up when he talks about his wish: swimming dolphins. “When things are kind of really rough, we talk about the make-a-wish trip. We talk about fun things and that’s one of the things that helps us get through the rough times,” said Brendan’s and Nathanael’s mother, Yvonne Batson.Howes is no where near done helping these families. She’s already raised $4,000 towards her next wish. “I would definitely love to keep raising money for make-a-wish all through college and just keep raising as much as I can for them,” said the 15-year-old.The high school sophomore hopes to one day work for the make-a-wish foundation.