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Wish Facts

What Is The Impact of Granting Wishes?

More than medicine

When children are battling a critical illness, so much of normal childhood is taken away from them — it is exhausting, both emotionally and physically. A Wish is something that gives kids the opportunity to look outside their illness — it restores a sense of childhood back to the child and normalcy back to the family.

Research shows, and physicians agree, wishes can help improve a child's quality of life and produce better health outcomes. Members of the Make-A-Wish Medical Advisory Committee share the life-changing impact wishes have — beyond just medicine — on their patients and their families.


"It isn't always necessary to cure in order to heal. ”

- James B. Fahner, MD, FAAP
Chair, Make-A-Wish Medical Advisory Council

Why wishes matter?

In 2015, Make-A-Wish Israel conducted a study to measure how wish-granting experiences influence medical outcomes of children with critical illnesses. The results revealed wishes not only increased hope, they also improved the children's physical and emotional health. The wishes made the impossible, possible — helping children replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.Learn more about how Make-A-Wish is helping children improve their emotional health more visibly and successfully than any other organization.

We don’t grant wishes for short-term smiles. We grant wishes to positively impact long-term health results*.

Make-A-Wish was the subject of a study to measure how wish-granting experiences influence the medical outcomes of children with cancer. Sixty-six children were evaluated using three different verified, respected, widely used assessment tools. The tools quantify hope, positive emotions, health-related quality of life and anxiety. 

“It is possible that wishing enabled these children to dream about that seemed unobtainable, out of reach, and thus created an experience of achieving the impossible,” researchers wrote.And if the impossible can happen once, kids can believe in their ability to live with or even overcome their illnesses. That’s the real purpose of a wish.

DOWNLOAD 2015 ISRAEL WISH STUDY

*Shoshani, A. Mifano, K. Czamanski-Cohen, J. (2015). The effects of the Make a Wish intervention on psychiatric symptoms and health-related quality of life of children with cancer: a randomized controlled trial. Quality of Life Research, 25(5), 1209-1218. doi 10.1007/s11136-015-1148-7

A wish can be the turning point in a child's battle.

A wish can be the turning point in a child's battle.

General Wish Facts

Wishes matter – and not just for kids with critical illnesses. Every wish has the potential to positively impact kids, families and even entire communities. Here are some facts that speak to the change that Make-A-Wish® supporters have created in the world:

  • Make-A-Wish grants a wish, on average, every 34 minutes.
  • Since 1980, more than 285,000 children in the United States and its territories have had their wishes granted by Make-A-Wish supporters.
  • Every wish experience is driven by the wish kid’s interests, creativity and personality.
  • In fiscal year 2016, Make-A-Wish granted more than 15,300 wishes, the most ever in its more than its history.
  • To qualify for a wish, a child with a critical illness must be older than 2½ years and younger than 18 (at the time of referral) and must not have received a wish from another wish-granting organization.
  • A child can be referred by a parent or guardian, a healthcare professional, or by the child.
  • Following referral, a certified medical professional must verify that the child has a critical illness. There are no other qualifications based on sex, race, religion, socioeconomic status or any other demographic category.
  • Make-A-Wish chapters serve every community in the United States and its territories.
  • Make-A-Wish has more than 33,000 active volunteers in the United States.
  • Make-A-Wish needs more than 2.5 billion frequent flier miles each year to cover the cost of wish travel for wish kids and their families.
  • Nearly 75 percent of wish experiences involve travel.
  • The Walt Disney Company is involved in approximately half of the wishes Make-A-Wish grants.
Make-A-Wish® Greater Los Angeles
11390 W. Olympic Blvd.
Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 788-9474
Toll Free Los Angeles Only (800) 322-9474