The wish celebrated on World Wish Day

On World Wish Day 2024 we celebrate the wish that started it all by donating and raising money for children living with a critical illness. Become a WishMaker and become part of an amazing legacy that gives critically ill children the opportunity to feel hope and reclaim their childhood. But how did this wish come about and spark an international movement?

Grant life-changing wishes

The history of Make-A-Wish and World Wish Day

Every year on 29th April, World Wish Day, we celebrate the history of Make-A-Wish. The wish that inspired the Make-A-Wish Foundation was granted on April 29th, 1980.

Christopher James Greicius was a curious and energetic little boy who was sadly diagnosed with leukemia. Despite this, Christopher was an energetic and positive boy who wanted nothing more than to become a police officer. In 1980, when Chris was seven years old, his family and his Phoenix community banded together to give him the greatest gift of all: they granted his wish to be a police officer.

How did this wish inspire a global movement?


Chris did not get to witness how his wish inspired a global movement. Just four days after his wish had been granted, Christopher passed away. His mother Linda Pauling, his family and members of his Phoenix community had seen how happy Chris was after his wish and they could see how that little boy had changed their lives. They also knew there were more children out there battling a critical illness that deserved happiness and hope. That was how Make-A-Wish was born.

In 1981, the first child to officially receive a wish from Make-A-Wish was Frank “Bopsy” Salazar. Like Christopher, Bopsy was a seven year-old boy battling leukemia. His dream to become a member of the Engine 9 firefighter crew was granted.

By 1990 the Make-A-Wish Foundation had granted over 10,000 wishes, gaining international recognition and changing the lives of scores of critically ill children and their families. Three years later, Make-A-Wish International was set up to help children all over the world. In 2010 we celebrated the first World Wish Day and the granting of nearly 200,000 wishes. Today, over 585,000 wishes have been granted in over 50 countries across 6 continents.

Why we celebrate the Chris’s wish

We celebrate Chris’s wish because it inspired a movement that has been able to help over 585,000 children living with a critical illness all over the world regain a part of their childhood. Wishes are a beacon of light during the difficult times a critically ill child and their families go through.

The wish impact has proven to be more than simply providing a child with a fun day or a gift. Wishes allow critically ill children to experience their childhood and give them and their families hope for the future.


Become a WishMaker today!


You can give a child living with a critical illness a magical experience by becoming a WishMaker today! We need your help to raise money to help eligible children regain their childhood and gain unforgettable experiences. Donate now and become a WishMaker!

Grant life-changing wishes

Chris Greicius as a police officer
Chris with a police helicopter in the background
Chris with his mom

Jessica Curran

Jessica Curran

Jessica Curran is Digital Marketing Manager at Make-A-Wish International, having joined the organisation in 2020 after 2.5 years at Make-A-Wish Ireland. Jessica is responsible for planning and executing social media content across all major platforms. Additionally, she oversees Make-A-Wish International’s external website, ensuring its effectiveness and alignment with our mission.