Step-by-Step Wish Process
Although each wish experience is unique for the child, their family, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, there is a general procedure by which a child is referred, qualified, and granted a wish.
STEP 1 - The Wish Referral
The Make-A-Wish Foundation accepts wish referrals from
- The child
- The parent(s)/guardians(s)
- A medical professional (for example, a nurse or doctor, social worker or child-life specialist.)
If the initial referral comes from someone other than those listed above, we always ask that the family be notified to refer directly on their own behalf. We never make the initial contact to families at this sensitive time of coping with a life-threatening illness.
The wish experiences created by our chapters are made possible only through the support of generous donors and more than 25,000 dedicated volunteers across the country.
If you know of a child who needs our help, please visit our Refer a Child page, or contact us at (312) 602-9474 (1-800-978-9474 outside of Chicago).
|STEP 2 – Determining Eligibility|
Any child between the ages of 2 ½ and 18 with a life-threatening medical condition may be eligible for a wish. The child must be capable of identifying the wish, and cannot have received a prior wish from another wish-granting organization. Ultimately, the child’s treating physician makes the final determination of whether the child is medically eligible and able to receive a wish.
STEP 3 - Identifying the Wish
Once confirmed as eligible, we assign a team of volunteers to coordinate the wish experience. During their first visit with a child, they will ask "If you could have one wish, what would it be?" In this way, Make-A-Wish is unlike any other wish-granting organization because we let the child choose exactly what he/she would like for their wish.
Usually, wishes are limited only by a child’s imagination. Most wishes fall into four main categories:
- To Have – This wish often includes wishing to have a puppy, a party, or a shopping spree.
- To Go – This is our most popular wish with 50% of our travel wishes being Disney World. The next most popular destinations are Hawaii and Europe. Cruises also comprise a big part of this type of wish.
- To Meet – Nearly 10% of our wishes are when a child would like to meet a personal hero or celebrity. Athletes, musicians, actors and other popular celebrities are very accommodating and touched when he/she finds out a child’s wish is to meet them.
- To Be – Many wish children seek to live out their dream by becoming someone they hope to actually be as an adult. Whether it is becoming a country music star or local fireman, these wishes are actualized in the most realistic details and setting, so the line between fantasy and reality is magically blurred.
|STEP 4 - Granting the Wish|
After the child paints a clear picture of what they would like to accomplish, the volunteer wish granting team sets out to create a magical wish experience, making every effort to involve the child’s family. The wish experience often touches dozens, and sometimes hundreds of people who either help coordinate or are directly involved in the wish.
More than 1,400 volunteers and 41 staff members work to grant the wishes of Illinois children