We grant the wishes of children with life threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy.
The referral process is the first step in a child's wish. A wish can provide a magical and empowering interlude in a terrible and frightening time. Children are energized by a wish, by imagining it, describing it, planning, and anticipating it. Families tell us that a wish can encourage a child to see a future to fight for, and then to fight on, often against tremendous odds, when courage and hope are flagging.
If you know a child who needs our help, please complete an online Wish Referral Form or contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. or toll-free at (866) 944-9474
Each wish-granting situation is a unique experience for the child, their family and the Make-A-Wish Foundation®. However, there is a general process by which a child is referred, qualified and granted a wish.
Out of respect for the children and families we serve, and out of concern for their privacy, children who may be eligible to receive a wish can be referred by one of three sources:
• Medical professionals treating the child such as doctors, nurses, social workers, or child-life specialists
• A parent or legal guardian of the potential wish child
• The potential wish child
If a relative or friend makes the initial referral, our process is somewhat different. We do not want to intrude on a family's privacy and want them to feel comfortable with the wish process. We ask friends and relatives to speak to the family and encourage them to call us directly.
We require authorization from the child's doctor and our medical advisor that:
• the child has a life-threatening medical condition which will threaten their existence prior to their 18th year.
• the child is between the ages of 3 and 17 years of age.
• the child has the cognitive ability of a 3 year old and can communicate and comprehend their wish.
Any child aged 3 through, and including, 17-years-old with a life-threatening medical condition may be eligible for a wish. The child must be able to identify a wish and cannot have received a prior wish from a wish-granting organization. The child's treating physician and our Medical Advisor make the final determination of whether the child is medically eligible and able to participate in the wish.
Referring a child can be a difficult step for some parents to take. It is so important to understand two things:
1. Qualification for a wish does not mean that all hope is gone. We grant life-affirming wishes rather than last wishes.
2. Qualification for a wish is not based on a family's financial situation. We know that a catastrophic illness puts a 'fantasy wish' beyond the reach of almost every household--whether from financial or emotional devastation. Rich or poor, we believe that every child with a life-threatening medical condition is deserving of a heartfelt wish.