What is the Make-A-Wish Foundation®?
The Make-A-Wish Foundation helps children and their families navigate the stresses of a serious illness by fulfilling one personal, heartfelt wish. The Foundation gives each child a magical, once-in-a-lifetime gift or experience — an interlude of respite and delight in the midst of hospitalizations and treatment schedules, physical limitations, and the fear and disappointments of a life-threatening medical condition.
What is a “wish”?
A wish is a child’s personal, heartfelt answer to the question: “If you could have anything in the world, go anywhere, do or be anything, what would you choose?” The Foundation is concerned that the wish be age-appropriate, not interfere with treatment and recovery, and truly is the child’s own wish, expressed as much as possible in the child’s own words.
Must my child have a terminal diagnosis to qualify?
Absolutely not. Although the Make-A-Wish Foundation children have life-threatening medical conditions, both parents and physicians would be reluctant to call the Make-A-Wish Foundation if a child had to be pronounced terminally ill first. We would like a wish to be a source of hope, joy and courage, and we would like your child to have a wish experience at a point in the treatment when she or he is well enough to enjoy and benefit from the experience.
Clearly, a wish would usually not be appropriate at the moment of first diagnosis. Your doctor will want to start a treatment schedule and observe how the illness responds. A wish is usually appropriate later, when a child is experiencing depression, limitations of various kinds, reactions to treatment, or feeling down. A wish can provide an emotional lift or an incentive to finish a long and difficult treatment schedule.
Must I wait for a doctor or social worker to suggest the Make-A-Wish Foundation?
No. You are welcome to call us yourself. If a friend or relative calls, we will send the caller back to you. A parent or guardian must contact us to initiate the wish process. We will never invade your privacy by calling you first. We wait for a signal from the parents that NOW is the right time.
I don’t want to raise my child’s hopes, only to have them dashed.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation has always served every medically-qualified child. We will ask your physician if your child’s illness matches our medical criteria. Your child must be between 2½ and 18 years old, and living in or receiving long-term treatment in North Texas. If you live in another state or region of Texas, we will connect you to the appropriate chapter in your area. By the time we meet with your child, we will have determined that your child meets those three conditions of eligibility.
What if my child wants a trip to Walt Disney World® Resort and he is in the middle of a treatment schedule?
We will never interrupt a treatment schedule for a wish trip. We contact the doctor immediately, both for medical qualification and for any warning that the timing of a particular wish would disrupt a treatment. The first priority for everyone is giving your child the best possible medical intervention. Treatment schedules can often accommodate family vacations, but if they cannot, a trip is a wonderful thing to anticipate. We can have your child’s long-awaited adventure ready and waiting the moment treatment ends. Other wishes do not involve travel. Your child may have something else in mind, like a new computer or puppy or bedroom furniture. We want to know about that wish as early as possible, so it can truly be a support for your child during a long, difficult time.
Meanwhile, we have family activities scheduled each year, like parties and sports events. These activities can provide additional distractions and diminish a child’s feeling that all of life revolves around the illness and its treatment.
Are there financial considerations?
What qualifies a child for a wish is the child’s illness — nothing else. The Foundation does not require financial disclosures and is not a welfare-like program. Most wish families are facing the daunting financial challenges of medical treatment for catastrophic illness, and many are in desperate need. Others are saving every penny for an urgent transplant. Some working parents have lost jobs to long hospital visits, or are trying to maintain an apartment near the hospital as well as a home elsewhere in the state. Still, others know that their child has a special wish — like going to the Super Bowl or meeting Michael Jordan — that no amount of money could ever grant without other kinds of assistance. We have learned that families in crisis are not able, either psychologically or financially, to plan and carry out a fantasy event for a child in the midst of other stresses.
We believe every child should be encouraged to dream and should be able to make a dream come true. In a time when a child has very little control over his or her life or body, a wish is something he or she can imagine and control in every detail. Asking your child to imagine a wish, moreover, is sometimes the most important part of the whole wish-granting process. A wish can be a practical device that opens, in an easy and natural way, a conversation about the things that are most important to your child at this particularly difficult time.
Who is involved in a wish?
It depends on the wish and the child’s desires. The Make-A-Wish Foundation always includes the entire immediate family. All the Make-A-Wish Foundation activities are designed for siblings as well as the wish child. We know that your other children are experiencing grief, anger and deprivation from this illness. A wish can provide at least one outcome that is positive and fun for everyone.
Must there be publicity on a wish?
No publicity will ever be sought without your permission and comfort.
What should I do if I want a wish for my child?
Please call our office at (214) 549-3316. We know it is a difficult call to make, but we are hoping that you do.
As a proud supporter of Make-A-Wish North Texas, G Wear has created custom design G Wear tees in which a portion of all proceeds from online purchases will be donated to help grant North Texas wishes. G Wear tees are made from recycled materials to ensure a better environment for our children now and in the future.