Frequently Asked Questions
I thought that Make-A-Wish was only for kids diagnosed with terminal illnesses. If my child participates in the program does it mean the doctors aren’t telling me the truth about my child’s condition?
The Make-A-Wish foundation fulfills wishes for ALL children with a life-threatening medical condition. This is an opportunity for renewed hope and spirit-- a chance to enjoy childhood again. It is not intended as a last wish.
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. Sometimes, a wish is granted at the beginning of treatment to provide hope and strength throughout a child’s illness. Other times, it is scheduled at the midpoint of treatment to reward a child for being brave. Still others plan the wish experience at the end of treatment period in order to give the child a goal to fight for. No matter when the wish is granted, it always serves as strength and hope.
Who pays for the wishes?
Make-A-Wish 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. Make-A-wish fulfills wishes of all kinds and we have access to many avenues not available to the general public. Thanks to our contacts, we’re able to arrange unique trips, celebrity meetings and other special experiences that money simply can not 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?
Make-A-Wish has never turned away a child who is eligible for our program. Every child who qualifies will have his or her wish fulfilled. Make-A-Wish 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 Make-A-Wish fulfill?
Frequently, wishes follow four wish types:
- I wish to go...Trip wishes are the most common, and Make-A-Wish can fulfill a child’s dream to visit a special place or to go somewhere he/she has always dreamed of.
- I wish to be...Wish children often have dreams to be something, from policemen, to actresses, to superheroes, to a princess. Make-A-Wish arranges opportunities for wish children to live their dream for a day.
- I wish to meet...Make-A-Wish has arranged meetings with a variety of celebrities, including athletes, actors and actresses, singers, and favorite bands.
- I wish to have...Make-A-Wish provides wish children with a variety of gifts such as computers, toys, re-decorated bedrooms, or shopping sprees.
There are some wishes that Make-A-Wish cannot grant either due to national or local policies, liability, or the fact that it might impact our ability to fulfill the wishes of other children.
- Gifts of designated sums of money;
- Cars or motorcycles
- Leasing, renting, or purchase of a home or residence;
- Wishes related to treatment or coverage of medical costs;
- Wishes involving the gift of or use of firearms, explosives, or weapons;
- Wishes that involve public solicitation (ex: most birthday cards ever, etc…);
- Wishes that may create an ongoing financial burden to the family (ex: real estate improvements, etc…)
Will the child’s family be included in the wish?
The Make-A-Wish Foundation will do everything possible to make the wish memorable for everyone. Wish participants include immediate family only: two parents or guardians, the wish child, and the child’s siblings. In addition, a single parent may include a second adult, and a child with no siblings can invite a friend to participate in the wish. Any additional participants due to unique situations will be considered on a case-by-case basis. DCFS / foster family situations and participants are determined case-by-case as well.
What are the family’s responsibilities during the wish granting process?
Make-A-Wish takes care of everything from planning each detail of the wish and the itinerary, down to the smallest details, including spending money and transportation. Whether the wish is local or involves travel, your family will have no planning or financial responsibility. 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.
What do I have to do to see if my child is eligible for a wish?
Feel free to speak with one to the medical professionals working with your child, call the Make-A-Wish Foundation office directly at 312.602.9474 or fill out the secure online Referral Form
More than 70% of wishes granted are travel related. Frequent Flier Miles are always needed to help grant these wishes.