I thought that the Make-A-Wish Foundation® was only for kids diagnosed with terminal illnesses.
I don’t think my child would qualify. The Make-A-Wish Foundation fulfills wishes for all children with a life-threatening medical condition. The eligibility criteria is that a child have a life-threatening medical condition that is considered progressive, degenerative or malignant at the time of referral. Examples of conditions that qualify may include a child waiting for a heart transplant (this is not a terminal condition, but it could be life-threatening), or a child diagnosed with leukemia. It is not intended as a last or dying wish, but rather as a way to bring hope, strength and joy to a child and his or her family during a potentially very stressful time.
At what point during my child’s treatment should we start the wish process? Should we do it now or wait?
Wishes are fulfilled when it is the best time—both medically and emotionally—for a child’s family. Families have told us that beginning the wish process at a time when the child is stressed, even if the wish itself is delayed until after treatment, is beneficial, giving the child something fun and positive on which to focus his/her attention. But no matter when the wish is granted, it always serves to bring hope, strength and joy for the child.
Who pays for the wishes?
The Make-A-Wish Foundation covers the entire cost of the wish. There is no cost to the family.
We’ve been fortunate financially. Are we wrong to allow our child to accept a wish?
No. The Make-A-Wish Foundation fulfills wishes of all kinds and we have access to many avenues not available to the general public. Thanks to our supporters, we’re able to arrange unique trips, celebrity meetings and other special experiences that money simply cannot buy.
My child is doing well right now. If my child receives a wish, will he or she be taking it away from someone who really needs it?
The Make-A-Wish Foundation has never turned away a child who is eligible for our program. Every child who qualifies will have his or her wish fulfilled. The Make-A-Wish Foundation does not “select” children or have a waiting list. Your child’s participation will not prevent another child from receiving a wish.
How do I find out what my child’s wish is?
Our volunteer Wish Granters have been trained to work with your child and help to determine his or her wish. In the meantime, it’s important that you allow your child to explore the different types of wishes. We hope you will encourage your child to wish for something that is truly special to him or her – without the influence of your own wish or that of a sibling.
What types of wishes does the Make-A-Wish Foundation fulfill?
Frequently, wishes follow four wish types:
I want to go…
Travel wishes are the most common, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation can fulfill a child’s dream to visit a special place or to go somewhere he/she has always dreamed of.
I want to be…
Wish children often have dreams to be something, from policemen, to actresses, to superheroes, to a princess. The Make-A-Wish Foundation arranges opportunities for wish children to live their dream for a day.
I want to meet…
The Make-A-Wish Foundation has arranged meetings with a variety of celebrities, including athletes, actors and actresses, singers, and favorite bands.
I want to have…
The Make-A-Wish Foundation provides wish children with a variety of gifts such as computers, toys, re-decorated bedrooms, or shopping sprees.
Are there any restrictions on wishes?
The Make-A-Wish Foundation tries to insure that a wish is age appropriate and the child’s own heartfelt desire, expressed in his or her own words whenever possible. We discourage wishes that appear to be initiated by a desire or need of the family or a need of the medical treatment, rather than the spontaneous, joyful impulse of the child. Serious safety concerns may also prevent us from granting certain wishes.
What wishes does the Make-A-Wish Foundation NOT grant?
There are some wishes that the Make-A-Wish Foundation cannot grant either due to national or local policies, safety and liability, or the fact that it might impact our financial ability to fulfill the wishes of other children. These include:
- Gifts of designated sums of money
- Cars/Trucks/Vans/RV’s or other vehicles of this type
- Leasing, renting, or purchasing of a home or residence
- Wishes related to treatment or coverage of medical expenses
- Wishes involving the gift of, or use of firearms, explosives, or weapons
- Wishes that involve public solicitation (ex: most birthday cards ever, etc…)
- Wishes for in-ground swimming pools
Will the child’s family be included in the wish?
Yes. Two parents/legal guardians/adults, the wish child and siblings living in the home age 18 and younger are included in the wish experience whenever possible.
What are the family’s responsibilities during the wish granting process?
The Make-A-Wish Foundation takes care of everything from planning each detail of the wish and the itinerary, down to the smallest details, including spending money and transportation. Your only job is to enjoy your child’s wish to the fullest!
What if we plan something and my child gets sick right before the wish day?
We understand that sometimes a wish will need to be rescheduled due to illness. The most important thing is for your child to know that we will reschedule the wish for when he or she is feeling better.
What if we need medical attention during the wish?
Once in a while, a child gets sick during the wish itself and is not able to complete the wish experience. If this happens, we will work with your family and medical team to complete the wish at a more appropriate time. Wish team members and staff are on call 24 hours a day. In the event of an emergency, these individuals can be contacted for immediate assistance and/or re-scheduling of travel for an earlier return.
How old must a child be to have a wish granted?
To be eligible for a wish, a child must be between 2½ and 18 years of age. A child must be referred before his/her 18th birthday to be eligible. If a child has already reached the age of 18, we may be able to refer him/her to another organization.
What children are eligible?
Children who have been diagnosed by their physician as having a medical condition that is life-threatening, and who are between 2½ and 18 years of age, are eligible for a wish. More detailed guidelines on eligibility are provided to medical professionals on request. The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants wishes regardless of race, religion, or socioeconomic status. No eligible child has ever been denied a wish or placed on a waiting list.
What if we do not want media attention?
The Make-A-Wish Foundation always requests permission from a family before seeking any publicity. A family has the right to deny publicity at any time. We will always protect your family’s and your child’s right to privacy.
We can afford to pay for a wish ourselves. If we accept this wish, will this be unfair to other, less fortunate, families?
All medically qualified children are eligible for a wish, regardless of family income. Even if a family can afford to fund the wish themselves, we seek to bring elements of surprise, magic, and fun to the wish experience that many families could not achieve because of the daily stresses and emotional trauma of having a seriously ill child. We have never had to turn a wish down because of a lack of funds, and take pride in fulfilling a wish for every Minnesota child, regardless of race, creed, or socioeconomic status.
What is the average cost of a wish?
The average cash cost of a wish at the Minnesota chapter is approximately $6,000. This varies, as the wishes themselves vary from a puppy, with all necessary puppy supplies, to a sight-seeing adventure in Hawaii. Once we know a child’s most heartfelt wish, we do our best to make that wish come true.
How are wishes paid for?
Funding for wishes comes from individual contributions, special events/fundraisers, corporate donations and sponsorships, foundation grants, workplace giving programs, and planned gifts.
How long does it take to grant a wish?
The length of time it takes to grant a wish for a child who medically qualifies can range anywhere from 24 hours to two years. The determining factors are the child’s particular wish and current medical condition. When a child does not have the time to wait for a wish, we make every effort to grant that child’s wish as quickly as possible. On average, the process takes approximately six months from the initial phone calls to the wish being completed.
Do gifts received during a wish ever have to be returned?
Thank you to KSTP and the Channel 5 Eyewitness News team for your engagement in Make-A-Wish® Minnesota’s Season of Wishes® campaign and involvement in this year’s Rice Park Tree Lighting event! KSTP and the Channel 5 Eyewitness News team support our mission by sharing heart-warming wish stories and providing promotion through commercials. We appreciate KSTP and the Channel 5 Eyewitness News team’s continuing support of our mission all year long and especially during the holiday season.