PORTLAND, ME – November 8, 2019 – The Mariners have announced that 10-year-old Ellie LaBree is the winner of the Wish Kids Design Jersey contest, sponsored by Agren. As part of a partnership with Agren and Make-A-Wish Maine, the Mariners offered the opportunity for local “wish kids” to submit jersey designs to be worn by the team during their February 1st home game against the Adirondack Thunder.
“I think this is definitely a cool one for us,” said Mariners defenseman and Captain Zach Tolkinen. “Any chance we have to give back especially when kids are involved, that’s huge. We’re excited to wear these jerseys and we appreciate everybody for putting in their contest ideas because it’s a very cool thing and something we’re excited to give back with.”
Voting on the top four designs took place from October 18th through November 1st, with Ellie’s design receiving the majority out of over 2,000 total votes cast. Runners up (in no particular order) were Jared Conant, Aubrey Cotta, and Libby Rulman.
When Ellie was four years old, she was diagnosed with a rare cancer called orbital rhabdomyosarcoma. She went from being a carefree kid making macaroni necklaces and learning her shapes in Pre-K, to spending her days having surgeries, getting chemotherapy, blood transfusions, and receiving proton beam radiation. Ellie was a fighter during treatment and she continues to be a fighter. Since treatment ended, she has had several surgeries including cataract surgery as a result of the radiation. Ellie also receives physical therapy.
According to Ellie’s mother, Candi, “she doesn’t let any of that stop her. Ellie is a 10-year-old girl who is full of life and love. Rarely is she seen without a book in her hand. She also spends her time swimming, playing chess, acting, and most importantly just being a kid.” The LaBrees reside in Glenburn.
The Mariners will sport Ellie’s jersey design during their game on February 1st at 6:00 PM against the Adirondack Thunder. The jerseys, sponsored by Agren, will be auctioned off via the Handbid App, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Make-A-Wish Maine, which grants life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. On average, the organization grants one wish every five days and has impacted more than 1,500 children throughout Maine since 1992.
“Everyone involved in fulfilling the wish of a child battling a critical illness is touched by the magic of the experience – magic that brings hope, strength and joy to children and their families during a difficult time when something precious to look forward to and enjoy can make all the difference,” said Rebekah Roy, Marketing Manager for Make-A-Wish Maine. “We’re incredibly grateful for partners like Agren and the Maine Mariners for their continued support in our mission.”
Make-A-Wish Maine is also the “Stick Taps” organization of the game on February 1st, and will be running a 50-50 raffle. Ellie and all four finalists will receive a custom jersey of their design with their name and chosen number on the back. Ellie will drop the ceremonial puck, join in-game hostess Lizzie Muse and radio broadcaster Michael Keeley for interviews, and enjoy the game with family and friends in a Mariners suite.