A parent reports:
A non-profit group that grants wishes to seriously ill children. The main purpose is to brighten children’s lives by granting them a wish. The wish can be anything from meeting a celebrity, to going to Disney World for a week, to getting a computer (laptop for the hospital?) or something that would cheer the person up, and allow them to get something positive out of the situation. Most requests will be granted. The age range for “wish” children is 2-18. The criteria for acceptance into the wish program is 1) the child must have a serious illness which is confirmed by the child’s physician. 2) the child is not expected to survive beyond his or her 18th birthday. I asked specifically about cystic fibrosis, and I mentioned that the median age of survival is now 29-30 years of age. The person I spoke with said that in all the cases she is aware of they have obtained the physician’s approval of CF children for wishes.
Our personal experience with the Make-A-Wish Foundation has been nothing but positive, they never leave out the well siblings, and I feel they are just a fantastic organization. Of course it is each family’s personal choice whether or not to get involved with these wish-granting organizations. For more information, or to obtain a telephone number for your local Make-A-Wish foundation, call 1(800) 722-9474.
From the Make-A-Wish WWW site (http://www.wish.org):
A child who is between the ages of 2-1/2 and 18 and who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness or life-threatening medical condition is eligible for a wish.
The child must be able to identify a wish. He or she must be a citizen of the United States or its territories, or be residing legally in the United States. Also, the child cannot have received a prior wish.
Requests for wishes typically come from parents or guardians, from members of the medical community and from children themselves. However, if the initial call comes from someone other than those listed above, we ask that the family be notified to call directly on their own behalf.
When a wish request is made, Make-A-Wish checks with the child’s physician to determine whether the child qualifies medically for a wish and whether the child is able to participate in the wish. When the physician gives approval, the wish is assigned to a two-volunteer wish team.
When a wish team first visits with a child, the volunteers ask one simple question: “If you could have one wish, what would it be?”
Usually, wishes are limited only by a child’s imagination, but most fall into four categories: “I want to go to . . .,” “I want to be . . .,” “I want to meet . . .,” or “I want a . . . .”
Once the chapter’s board of directors approves the child’s wish, the wish team sets out to make it come true.
The fulfillment of a wish creates a moment of joy at a time that can be very difficult for a child and a family. Every effort is made to include the immediate family in the child’s wish, because watching a dream come true creates magic for them as well–along with special memories that just may have to last forever.
For more information about qualifying children, contact your local chapter or the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, (800) 722-WISH.