There really isn’t much in this world that feels as heart-wrenching, tragic and unfair as children suffering from terminal and life-threatening illnesses. Fortunately there are organizations out there designed to bring a little hope and happiness to the children so unfairly affected by diseases like cancer. Probably the most well-known of these is the Make-a-Wish Foundation (featured in tear-jerking The Fault in Our Stars, remember? Yeah, we haven’t stopped crying from that one either.)
The Make-a-Wish Foundation began in 1980, practically by accident, when two Arizona police officers made it possible for a 7-year-old boy (diagnosed with leukemia) to fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer. Their story spread, and before long the “Make-a-Wish Foundation” had become a non-profit organization with a growing body of support. To date, the Make-a-Wish Foundation has granted wishes for over 226,000 children with life-threatening diseases. And the wishes are as diverse as the children’s passions, ranging from meetings with sports heroes to pop stars to chefs.
So, why grant wishes? What makes it such a pivotal experience for these children? According to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, “A wish come true helps children feel stronger, more energetic, more willing and able to battle their life-threatening medical conditions. For many, the wish marks a turning point in the fight against their illnesses.” Pretty compelling, and undoubtedly inspiring.
You may not be able to grant a wish yourself, but you can certainly help out this always-inspiring organization. Here’s how:
Refer a Child. A child is eligible for wish fulfillment when he/she is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and is between the ages of 2½ and 18. Unfortunately, that means there are way too many kids out there eligible to have a wish fulfilled. Check out the guidelines here.
Walk for Wishes! Some communities organize a “Walk for Wishes,” which raises funds that go towards granting wishes. You can walk, gain sponsorship and help make some child’s dream come true. (Click the link to find out where you can walk.)
Donate. Obviously, the Make-a-Wish Foundation always accepts donations—starting at as little as $5. Every little bit helps. Or why not ask for a donation in your name instead of a holiday gift or birthday present? Guidelines for making donations can be found here.
Get involved in your local chapter. There is likely a Make-a-Wish Foundation near you! Go here to see what’s happening near you and how you can offer your support.
Create your own fundraiser. Ambitious? Yes. Life-changing? Totally! The Make-a-Wish Foundation site has resources for both school-aged children and college students to create their own fundraisers. Enlist the help of others—including teachers and friends—and work towards granting even more wishes.
Want to see the kinds of wishes being
granted? Check out this awesome story about a girl whose wish to surf with
Bethany Hamilton was fulfilled!
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