Who is eligible to receive a wish?
A wish eligible child is one who, has reached the age of 2 ½ and is under the age of 18, and whose illness is considered life-threatening (as confirmed by a physician) at the time of referral. Please read through our Medical Eligibility form for a full description of our medical criteria. While there are many children facing debilitating illnesses, The Make-A-Wish Foundation® must grant wishes to those children whose medical conditions fall within the scope of our mission.
When should a child be referred for a wish?
It is our mission to bring hope, strength and joy to a child at the time of greatest need. A child should be referred for a wish when his or her condition has progressed to the point that it is putting his or her life in jeopardy. Therefore, the child’s physician must confirm he or she is in a life-threatening state at the time the referral is made in order for him/her to be medically eligible to have a wish granted.
Is there a timeframe in which the wish must be granted?
It is a Make-A-Wish national guideline that we should make every effort to grant the wish of each referred and eligible child within two years of the date of referral. Make-A-Wish staff will work closely with the wish child’s family and the medical team to ensure the wish is granted at a time when the child will medically and emotionally benefit from the wish experience.
How does the wish-granting process work?
First the Make-A-Wish Foundation must receive a Referral Form from the child’s medical care provider, parent or directly from the child and a qualifying Medical Eligibility form from the child’s authorized medical care provider. The next step is that a team of two specially trained Make-A-Wish Foundation® volunteers contact each wish family to set up a meeting to discuss the child’s special wish and to complete required paperwork.
What types of wishes do we grant?
Wishes normally fall into one of four categories:
TRAVEL or EVENT WISHES: I wish to go . . .
OBJECT WISHES: I wish to have . . .
CELEBRITY WISHES: I wish to meet . . .
OCCUPATIONAL WISHES: I wish to be . . .
All wishes must be reasonable, attainable, and appropriate for the child’s age and medical condition. The Make-A-Wish Foundation will make every effort to make the child’s primary wish come true; however, we do ask that children also have a secondary choice in mind, just in case the primary wish cannot be granted.
Is there a limit to what a child can request?
While we do not want to limit a child’s imagination as he/she decides upon a special wish, the Make-A-Wish Foundation does have policies and guidelines that must be followed. All wishes must be reasonable, attainable and appropriate for a child’s age and medical condition. All wish requests must go through an approval process. Part of that process is sharing the wish request with you, their medical care provider, to ensure that each child’s wish is medically appropriate. In case a child’s primary wish cannot be granted, we ask that the child have an alternate wish in mind. After a child’s wish has been approved, our staff and volunteers will work with the family to facilitate the completion of the child’s magical experience. Some of the wishes we cannot grant include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following: a car, motorcycle, power boat, jet ski or other motorized vehicle or vehicle alterations, e.g. wheelchair lifts; a wish for/or involving weapons; gifts of money; alternative housing, room addition or major structural changes, e.g. access ramp; wishes related to medical conditions, e.g. treatment, supplies, therapy equipment, transportation for medical purposes, etc.; in-ground swimming pools.
When a child is having difficulty deciding on a wish, how can I help?
While some children know immediately what they want to wish for, others can find it difficult to narrow it down to one specific wish. Making a wish is a big decision and a personal one! We urge you not to make specific recommendations but instead to recommend that the child think about the four different categories of a wish. That often helps a child to focus. Children can discuss ideas with our volunteer representatives or our staff. We can’t promise anything at this point in the wish-granting process, but we are available and want to help! Ultimately, the wish decision needs to come from the child to ensure it is something very special to him or her.
Who can participate in a child’s wish?
The Make-A-Wish Foundation® will include two adults (typically the wish child’s parents or guardians) as part of a child’s wish experience. We will also include siblings under the age of 18 years who currently reside in the child’s primary residence. Inclusion of siblings over the age of 18, or any other additional participants, will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If a child is requesting an additional participant on the wish, we recommend that the child write a letter to the Foundation explaining why including this person in their wish experience is so important.
Can a child receive more than one wish?
No. Receiving a wish is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity. The Foundation can only grant one wish per child, and we want this wish to be truly special! Children should think carefully about the wish before making a final decision. If our approval board determines that, under Foundation guidelines, a child’s wish description actually encompasses more than one wish, the child will be asked to prioritize his/her desires.
What if a child’s wish is planned, and then he/she becomes ill and cannot participate?
Realizing that a child receiving a wish from The Make-A-Wish Foundation could become ill at any time, wishes can be cancelled, postponed and rescheduled if medically necessary. All participants should ensure that there are no conflicts relative to jobs, school schedules or other commitments prior to committing to a wish date because wishes cannot be cancelled for those reasons. If a wish is requested to be cancelled for medical reasons, The Make-A-Wish Foundation will need a corroborating written statement from the child’s physician.
Who can I call if I have any questions?
Please do not hesitate to contact our office at 609-371-9474. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have.