I love telling people about Make-A-Wish®. I enjoy telling people about the impact a wish has on a child, their family, and our community. Being in the marketing department,I cherish sharing with people about the process a child goes through when they are eligible for a wish. And of all the information I share, I always bring up the common misconceptions about Make-A-Wish. So here I am going to answer the 10 most common questions I get when telling people about Make-A-Wish:
1. Do you only grant wishes to terminally ill children?
Make-A-Wish has sometimes been incorrectly portrayed as an organization that grants wishes to children who are terminally ill. Our eligibility criteria stipulate that a child must be diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition, not a terminal condition. Many wish kids go on to lead fulfilling lives after their Make-A-Wish experience. The wish process is a way to honor the difficult journey they’re going through and the courage they’ve shown to face it. It’s a very life-affirming process that enriches the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Our wish children who are now adults would attest to this!
2. Why do you send so many kids to Disneyland or Disney World?
Disney is a large partner of ours and 53% of our wishes are Disney related. When a child comes to our Wishing Place, they wish for what they are familiar with. They know their favorite movies, and princesses, and Superheroes, it only makes sense that they want to incorporate Disney. Even though we may get multiple kids that wish to have a Disney related with, no two wishes are the same. When a child makes a wish we customize it 100% to that child including their favorite characters, foods, colors, and interests. All the wishes we grant are as unique and special as our wish kids.
3. How do you choose what wish to grant?
When a child is referred, they come to the Wishing Place and make four wishes – I wish to be, I wish to have, I wish to go, and I wish to meet. We ask them multiple questions to find out their one true wish and do our best to grant that heartfelt wish. At that time, the child doesn’t know what wish we are going to grant. The child's imagination is always the driving force in determining, designing and coordinating the wish experience. Every wish is unique and powerful.
4. How can I get involved?
Volunteering is a great way to be a part of the Make-A-Wish family! We have more than 300 volunteers within our chapter territory and we would not be able to grant as many wishes as we do without their support. Check out the different types of volunteer opportunities here.
5. What is the coolest wish you have seen?
I was lucky to be a part of Ethan’s wish to be a Garbage Man. Ethan, like many other six-year-olds has a fascination with garbage trucks. When he came in to make his four wishes, three of them involved garbage, garbage trucks, and a garbage man. We clearly knew that this kid was meant to be a garbage man. In July 2016, Sacramento came together to cheer Ethan on as he cleaned up the city. Watch a short clip from his wish here. It was a very fun day as the whole community felt the impact of a wish.
6. Do you receive government funding?
All of our funding comes from generous individual donors. We receive zero government funding. The Adopt-A-Wish program offers the ultimate connection for our donors by partnering their philanthropic investment with a specific child's heartfelt wish. Click here to learn more.
7. Who can refer a child?
Medical professionals, the child themselves, parents, legal guardians and family members with detailed knowledge of the child's current medical condition can initiate the referral process. Every wish experience begins with a referral. We rely on wish referrals from caring individuals to help us reach more kids with life-threatening medical conditions every year and grant them a wish that changes lives, forever. Click here to refer a child today.
8. Do you cry a lot from your job?
Some days are hard here at Make-A-Wish, but it is mostly tears of joy. Seeing the happiness on a child’s face when you tell them their wish is being granted is priceless. What often gets me is seeing the parents after you tell their child that their wish is being granted. The parents go through a lot when they have a child with a life threatening medical condition and when their child is grinning from ear to ear, no one is focusing on the medical exams next week, or the treatment their child needs tomorrow, they are all experiencing the power of a wish. It gives them hope for the future, it strengthens their family and it brings joy to them all. It makes it all worth it.
9. Who is eligible for a wish?
The child must have a life-threatening medical condition, be between the ages 2½ and 18, and have never received a wish before is potentially eligible for a wish.
10. Where is the Wishing Place?
We are lucky to be one of five in the world with an actual Wishing Place. We are located in Sacramento, CA. (2800 Club Center Drive, Sacramento, CA 95835). The magic begins the moment a child enters the front door. A “Galaxy of Stars” shines above with colored stars each commemorating a special wish child. The child then proceeds to “The Wishing Room” where wish decisions are made. Once that one true wish has been selected, a magical key opens the door to “The Wishing Tower” where the dream begins. It is truly a magical experience. If you would like a tour please contact Jessica Lehner at 916-437-0206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.