Frequently Asked Questions
About Make-A-Wish Illinois
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Who is eligible for a wish?
Any child between the ages of 2 ½ and 18 (children must be referred before their 18th birthday) with a physician-certified life-threatening illness or medical condition is eligible for a wish. The child must not have received a wish from Make-A-Wish or another wish-granting organization.
How are children referred?
Wish referrals can be made by the parents, legal guardians, or by the child him/herself. Referrals may also be made by the child’s physician, social worker, or other health care professional. For more information on referrals, email the Medical Outreach Manager, or visit the "Referring a Child" section.
How are wish-granting costs covered?
The Make-A-Wish Foundation funds its wishes in a variety of ways: through private and corporate donations, foundation grants, in-kind donations and services, and fundraisers sponsored by local community and corporate groups.
What do children wish for?
Wishes reflect a child's heartfelt desire. Often, a wish is limited only by the child's imagination and physical ability to participate in the wish. Most wish requests fall into four categories:
- I wish to go…
- I wish to be…
- I wish to meet…
- I wish to have…
What is the average cost of a wish?
The average cost of a wish for the Illinois chapter is $8,750. We receive an average of $2,750 worth of in-kind donations (airline tickets, meals, entertainment, etc.) for each wish. This makes the average cash cost of a wish $6,000. Wish costs vary based on the type and complexity of the wish, and may be more or less expensive than the average.
How are wishes fulfilled?
Make-A-Wish volunteer teams work in pairs to coordinate the details of each child's wish. Once a child's medical eligibility is confirmed, wish volunteers visit the family to determine the child's wish. Volunteers ask the child the magic question: "If you could have anything, go anywhere, meet anyone, or be anyone, what would you wish for?" Inviting a child to imagine joy in the midst of a difficult time is an important part of the life-enhancing process the wish experience offers.
Does the family contribute toward the wish?
Wish expenses are fully covered by the Make-A-Wish chapter granting the wish. This often includes travel expenses, lodging, meals, and even spending money. Our objective is to provide the family with a joyful, worry-free experience.
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