Who is eligible to receive a wish?
Any child between the ages of 2½ and 18 (at the time of referral) 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.
Children do not need “to be terminal” in order to qualify for a wish rather, the child must have a physician-certified life-threatening medical condition.
What do children wish for?
Wishes reflect a child's heartfelt desire and can range from something grand and complex to something simple and basic. Most wish requests fall into four categories:
- I wish to go: Some Make-A-Wish kids wish to travel to a favorite theme park, while others wish to visit an exotic beach, go on a cruise or attend a major sporting event.
- I wish to be: Children search the depths of their imagination when they wish to be someone for a day such as a fireman, a police officer or a ballerina.
- I wish to meet: Many children wish to meet their favorite athlete, recording artist, movie star, cartoon character or public figure.
- I wish to have: Children often wish for a special gift, like a computer, a play house, a shopping spree or something that they have coveted for a long time.
Read more about some of the wishes we've recently granted
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-affirming and enriching process the wish experience offers.
How are wishes funded?
Wishes are made possible by contributions from individuals, companies and foundations. We receive no government funding. Raising enough funds to grant wishes to children in Alaska and Washington is completely dependent upon contributions from individuals in our local communities. To defray cash expenses, we also accept donated goods and services. On behalf of the wish children, any goods used for a wish, such as computers or toys, must be new. Learn how you can help support Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington.
What is the average cost of a wish?
Since no two wishes are alike, the cost associated with coordinating a wish varies depending upon the type and location of a wish. Make-A-Wish pays for all of the expenses associated with the wish experience, including the wish child's family who also experiences the trauma of diagnosis. When possible, donations of goods and services are sought to reduce cash expenses.
On average, a wish costs about $5,000. You can personally make a wish come true through our Adopt-A-Wish program.
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.