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General Wish Facts

General Wish Facts

Wishes matter – and not just for kids with critical illnesses. Every wish has the potential to positively impact kids, families and even entire communities. Here are some facts that speak to the change that Make-A-Wish® supporters have created in the world:

  • Make-A-Wish grants a wish, on average, every 34 minutes.
  • Since 1980, more than 285,000 children in the United States and its territories have had their wishes granted by Make-A-Wish supporters.
  • Every wish experience is driven by the wish kid’s interests, creativity and personality.
  • In fiscal year 2016, Make-A-Wish granted more than 15,300 wishes, the most ever in its more than its history.
  • To qualify for a wish, a child with a critical illness must be older than 2½ years and younger than 18 (at the time of referral) and must not have received a wish from another wish-granting organization.
  • A child can be referred by a parent or guardian, a healthcare professional, or by the child.
  • Following referral, a certified medical professional must verify that the child has a critical illness. There are no other qualifications based on sex, race, religion, socioeconomic status or any other demographic category.
  • Make-A-Wish chapters serve every community in the United States and its territories.
  • Make-A-Wish has more than 33,000 active volunteers in the United States.
  • Make-A-Wish needs more than 2.5 billion frequent flier miles each year to cover the cost of wish travel for wish kids and their families.
  • Nearly 75 percent of wish experiences involve travel.
  • The Walt Disney Company is involved in approximately half of the wishes Make-A-Wish grants.

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Make-A-Wish accepts referrals from:

  • Children being treated for a critical illness
  • Parents or legal guardians
  • Medical professionals (typically a doctor, nurse, social worker or child-life specialist)
  • Family members with detailed knowledge of the child's medical condition