The Make-A-Wish Story

It all started with one wish: watch the amazing, true story of Make-A-Wish's founding and how one community came together for the power of a wish.

Mission: The mission of Make-A-Wish International is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

Vision: We are dedicated to making every eligible child’s wish come true.

Values: Our values serve as the map to attain our vision of granting the wish of every eligible child. They are a clear guide to our priorities and lead the way in everything we do.

  • Integrity: We approach every aspect of our work with unwavering standards of honesty, transparency and respect for wish recipients, their families and Make-A-Wish supporters.
  • Child Focus: Our business practices always put the interests of wish children first. Always.
  • Excellence: We aspire to best-in-class business practices, and we embrace the challenge to exceed expectations at every opportunity.
  • Community: We foster a collaborative, global community composed of staff, volunteers and donors with the collective ability to make the broadest possible range of wishes come true.
  • Inspiration: We are inspired by the examples of our wish kids and the actions of the entire Make-A-Wish community to approach our mission with life-affirming enthusiasm, imagination and creativity. As a result, we fill each wish experience and every interaction with hope, strength and joy.

Our Global Reach

Founded in Phoenix, Arizona in 1980, when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, Make-A-Wish is one of the world's leading children's charities.

After the start of Make-A-Wish in the United States, interest in granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions quickly spread to other nations. In 1993, Make-A-Wish International was officially formed to serve five countries outside the U.S. - and now helps to serve children outside the United States in nearly 50 countries on five continents through its 40 affiliates. Make-A-Wish America grants the wishes of children in the United States through its 61 chapters. With the help of generous donors and over 32,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish has collectively granted approximately more than 350,000 wishes worldwide since 1980.
 

The First Wishes

Chris Greicius - The Wish That Inspired Make-A-Wish

Chris-Greicius-1980

The creation of Make-A-Wish was inspired in the U.S. in 1980 by the fulfillment of a wish of a 7-year-old boy with leukemia named Chris Greicius, who wished to be a policeman. His mother, several friends and a group of police officers, with the cooperation of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, granted his wish with a custom-made uniform, helmet, badge, and helicopter ride! After the wish, those involved were inspired and eager to bring that same hope, strength and joy they saw as a result of Chris’ wish, to more children. Their simple idea has led to the continued growth of the world’s largest wish-granting organization, now operating in nearly 50 countries.

Bopsy Salazar - The First "Make-A-Wish" Child

Bopsy-Salazar-1981

The magical relationship Make-A-Wish has formed with Disney® on a global scale began with Frank "Bopsy" Salazar, the first official wish child of Make-A-Wish. Like Chris, he was a 7-year-old boy in the U.S. who was diagnosed with leukemia and revered people in uniform. Make-A-Wish set out to grant his wish to be a firefighter, and thanks to wonderful support from our Disney friends, more fun was in store for his magical wish when he became the first of a long history of wish children to visit a Disney Theme Park.