Teen battling cancer gets wish from foundation

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — When Bridgett Adams came home from school Aug. 30, she probably just expected to find her parents waiting to ask about her day. What she didn’t expect was a Ferrari red baby grand piano sitting in her living room.

In December, Bridgett, a 16-year-old from Jackson who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, shared her wish for a red piano with the Make-A-Wish foundation. In May, Blue Bunny threw Bridgett a party to announce her wish would be granted as part of its 100 Years, 100 Wishes campaign.

JoAnn Pierce, wish-granter with Make-A-Wish, said many wishes have been granted in the Southeast Missouri area, but Bridgett’s red piano stood out.

“Each wish is unique, and we make the best effort we can to make each one special. But when they step out of the box with wishes like this one, we just love it,” she said.

The foundation partnered with Piano Craft, based in Springfield, Mo., to make the wish a reality. Jim Hearn, vice president of Piano Craft, helped grant the wish.

Hearn was there with Pierce on Friday to surprise Bridgett. He’s been in the business for 38 years and is no stranger to granting wishes, although he admits this was a unique request.

“We’re honored and very, very thrilled to do this,” he said. “We’re very excited for Bridgett.”

Hearn reached out to Samick, a piano manufacturing company in Seoul, South Korea, and said it took them about six months to make the custom piano.

“It’s custom made, just for her,” said Hearn. “You couldn’t just walk into a store anywhere and get a Ferrari red piano like this one.”

Bridgett’s reaction to finding the bright red piano in her living room turned instantly from shock to tears of joy. Her wish finally had become a reality, but she said it still felt like a dream.

“I really had no idea this was going to be here today when I got home,” she said as she sat on the matching red bench in front of the piano. “I couldn’t have imagined this.”

Bridgett has been taking piano lessons for about a year. An active member of the Apostolic Promise Church youth ministry, she said she hoped to eventually play the piano in her church.

Her parents, Winnie and Shannon Adams, said sometimes Bridgett’s treatments left her too tired or sick to practice the piano, but she never gave up. Her mother Winnie Adams said, “Church is our life,” and the family has remained strong in their faith since Bridgett’s diagnosis in May 2012.

Bridgett still is working through another round of treatments, but Adams said she believes the new piano will go a long way toward inspiring her daughter to continue playing.

“This is just a dream come true,” Adams said. “It’s so awesome.”

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Information from: Southeast Missourian, http://www.semissourian.com

AP MISSOURI PANORAMA

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