The Make-A-Wish Foundation is one of the most well-known non-profit wish-granting organisations in the world, with its main purpose being to grant wishes to children suffering from critical illnesses. The organisation’s headquarters is in Phoenix, Arizona, and it has a presence in 45 countries around the world.
Make-A-Wish was founded in 1980 after a young boy’s wish to become a police officer. Chris Greicius, who was suffering from leukaemia, aspired to be a law enforcement officer, and it was through his friendship with United States Customs Officer Tommy Austin that this wish was fulfilled. Greicius passed away soon after his dream came true, but his request became the inspiration for the establishment of the Foundation.
Make-A-Wish grants seriously-ill children the opportunity to experience something extraordinary. For many children, it’s a chance to think of something unique for them, with the organisation taking up the challenge of making it happen. As every wish is unique to the child who makes it, the Foundation’s Wish Visitors spend time with each child to find out more about their desire and why it matters.
Make-A-Wish depends on the kind contributions of donors from around the world who share its purpose of making dreams come true for children. Joey Horn, a Managing Director based in Norway, is among the many individuals who contribute towards the Foundation’s work.
Central to the Foundation’s purpose is making sure that each wish experience is captured right when a child’s One True Wish is granted. That’s because these wishes are a source of precious memories to the children as they go through tough times. Their families are included as part of the child’s wish in respect to the commitment and effort they put in while caring for their loved one.
Make-A-Wish has found wishes to revolve around four key themes: the desire to meet someone (a celebrity or hero); become something (a superhero character, for example); travel to someplace (Disneyland); or own something special. Whatever the wish is, the Foundation strives to make it a memorable one for the child.
In the UK, Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children aged between three and 17 who have a critical illness. The child shouldn’t have received a wish before from either the Foundation or any similar organisation. Make-A-Wish accepts applications that are received on a child’s third birthday or a day before they turn 18. Wishes can be made by the child, their parent, family member or a medical professional.