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Wish Impact and Facts

What is A Wish?

When we first meet a wish kid, we ask, “If you could go anywhere, have anything, be anything or meet anyone, what would it be?” When a child answers this question, a wish is born.

Wishes usually fall into four categories: travel wishes, celebrity meetings, gift wishes and occupational wishes. However, wish choices are as diverse as the children themselves. Children can wish for anything from a Caribbean cruise to being a superhero for a day. We put few parameters on wishes, encouraging kids to use their imagination and “think outside the box.” For many of our wish kids, their wish is a life-changing experience that strengthens their families, brings happiness back into their lives and also marks a turning point in their child’s battle against his or her medical condition.

Tamika poses for the camera

Tamika poses for the camera

Important Things to Know

  • To qualify for a wish, children must be diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition, should be over the age of 2 ½ and under the age of 18 at the time of referral and must not have received a wish from another wish-granting organization.

  • Following a referral, a certified medical professional must verify that the child has a life-threatening medical condition.

  • We begin the wish process as soon as we receive the health care professional’s approval.

  • We don’t care if the family is rich or poor.

  • We fulfill each wish at the family’s convenience.

  • We don’t refer to our children as “dying” or “terminal.” In fact, nearly 80% of our wish children are still living.

Wish Impact

"Here it is, seven months later, and [Stormy’s] trip still brings her so much happiness. I cannot ever thank the people involved in making her so happy ever enough. I’ve seen so many tears and fears in her eyes and on her face, more than a lifetime’s worth, but now I see so many smiles and “oh remember...” moments when her face lights up, it just chokes me up.  Those involved probably cannot imagine how it makes a parent feel to see a child that has faced so many fears, now be so happy. Our family really needed to find a new strength and a renewel of faith and you gave us that. Thank you again for everything." ~Stormy's mom

We open up a world of possibilities for our wish kids and ask them to dream the unimaginable. And then we make the impossible happen -- a magical wish that improves the quality of life for the children and their families. For many of our wish kids, their wish marks a turning point in their fight against their illnesses.

According to the results of a 2011 Wish Impact Study that surveyed wish parents, health professionals, and Make-A-Wish® volunteers, a wish come true empowers children with life-threatening medical conditions to fight harder against their illnesses. When wish kids are granted a wish, they get more than just a great experience for a day, two days, or a week. That experience improves the quality of life for them and their entire family.

Health professionals treating them say the wish experience is an important adjunct to medical treatment, and they observe their patients feel better and comply more readily with treatment protocols when they experience their wish come true. And the community volunteers who grant wishes say the wish granting process heightens both their ability to see the best in others, and their commitment to actively help more people in need.


Improved Health Status
   Health professionals who treat wish kids, including nurses and doctors, overwhelmingly believe that the wish experience can improve a wish kids’ physical health.

   Most health professionals say a wish come true has the potential to be a positive turning point in the child’s battle for health.

  • Parents and volunteers observe that a wish come true makes kids feel stronger and more energetic.
  • Wish kids are more willing to comply with difficult, but vital, treatment regimens.
  • Parents and medical professionals alike describe the wish experience as a frequent turning point in wish kids’ battles for health.


A combined 89 percent of doctors, nurses and health professionals surveyed say they believe a wish experience can influence wish kids' physical health.* 


Enhanced State of Mind

  • Children and their parents alike experience more happiness and less fear in their lives.
  • Children are less isolated from friends, and feel a return of self-confidence that comes with feeling “normal” again
  • They are empowered to take back control of their lives, and to keep up the fight against their life-threatening medical conditions.
  • Parents say their family units – often strained to the limit by stresses of the illnesses – are repaired and strengthened through the shared experience of the wish process.


Ninety-nine percent of parents reported that the wish experience gave their children increased feelings of happiness and 96 percent said that the wish experience strengthened their families. *


Strengthened Communities

   Volunteers feel an increased sense of compassion and desire to help others in their community.

  • They feel a renewed faith in humanity. 
  • They trust others more and feel more optimistic about the future.
  • They feel a greater long-term commitment to philanthropy.


Ninety-five percent of community volunteers reported an increased sense of compassion and 84 percent felt an increased faith in humanity. *


* “Wish Impact Study Results – Second Phase: Jan. – Aug. 2011” (consolidated results), Nov. 2, 2011.


Stormy with a Hawaiian flower in her hair

Stormy with a Hawaiian flower in her hair

Did You Know?

98% of wish parents felt the wish experience gave them an opportunity to be a “normal” family again?*

9 out of 10 nurses, doctors, social workers and child life specialists say the wish experience can influence wish kids’ physical health?*

92% of parents saw their children experience re-empowerment to take back the ability to make decisions in their lives?*

74% of wish parents felt that the wish experience marked a turning point in their own children’s battle against their medical condition?*

Wish parents, wish-granting volunteers and health professionals who treat and refer wish kids report an increased sense of compassion, greater trust in humanity, an enhanced desire to help others and a deepened commitment to philanthropy resulting from their experience with Make-A-Wish?*

Nearly 75% of wishes involve travel?

Our chapter has more than 60 wish-granting volunteers?

*Wish Impact Study Results -- Second Phase: Jan-Aug. 2011 (consolidated results), November 2, 2011

Michael and his family at Cinderella's Castle

Michael and his family at Cinderella's Castle

Make-A-Wish® Montana
1015 Mount Ave
Suite C
Missoula, MT 59801
(406) 259-9848