Who is eligible for a wish to be granted?

Make-A-Wish is an international organization that serves to fulfill the wishes of critically ill children. We operate in over 50 countries and have brought 550,000 wishes to life in 43 years.

We celebrate the 29th of April every year as World Wish Day. This date commemorates the first wish ever granted by the movement. Wish kids have to meet certain criteria in order to qualify for having their wish granted. The Make-A-Wish journey is a great opportunity for children who are living with a life-threatening illness to experience the joy of a life-long wish being granted. The experience and impact of a wish strengthens the child’s hope and can have a positive impact on their mental health. In this blog we discuss who is eligible for a wish to be granted.

Grant life-changing wishes

How to become a Make-A-Wish kid

Make-A-Wish kids are children who are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and who are between the ages of 3 and 17. Families and friends of a child can refer an eligible child to the foundation, and our wish granters will analyze whether the child is eligible. You can apply for a wish by contacting the Make-A-Wish Affiliate in your country and submitting a referral.

Eligibility criteria for the wish journey


The child doesn’t need to be terminal in order to receive a wish—many children who receive a wish survive and go on to live healthy lives. The idea behind the organization is to create an unforgettable experience for critically ill children and bring some extra laughter and joy into their lives. The eligibility criteria for the wish journey are:

1) Between the ages of 3-17 years old;
2) Diagnosed with a progressive, degenerative or malignant condition that is life-threatening;
3) Has not yet received a wish from a similar organization to Make-A-Wish.


The stages of the wish journey

The wish journey starts with a referral. Make-A-Wish accepts referrals from children themselves, parents, family members, and medical professionals. Once a child is referred to Make-A-Wish, we check the eligibility criteria to make sure the child is eligible for receiving a wish.

After the eligibility of the child is confirmed, our wishgranters visit the family and discuss the wish with the child. Lastly, we coordinate with the required people and volunteers to grant the wish!

Donors, doctors, supporters, and volunteers all help in granting a child’s wish. There are hundreds of volunteers that come together to make wishes come true. To initiate the process, you can submit a wish application form on behalf of the child. It is important to consult the child’s medical professional to ensure the proposed wish is compatible with the child’s health condition.


How to contribute to a wish

There are many ways you can contribute to a wish. You can become a volunteer to help us expand our reach from the 50 countries we are currently active into. Volunteers help our organization run.

Make-A-Wish is a non-profit organization, and we run purely on donations to give families a memorable experience without worrying about money.

You can also host a fundraising campaign in your area to raise funds to donate. This can include anything from a bake sale to any other form of a charity event. Here are some ideas on how to raise money for Make-A-Wish. Give hope to critically ill children and their families, and donate today.


Grant life-changing wishes

A kid hugging his teddy bear on hospital bed

What are the stages of the wish journey?

The stages of the wish journey are the series of actions Make-A-Wish takes to fulfill the wishes of children living with life-threatening illnesses. There are multiple stages of this progress.
Firstly, Make-A-Wish visits the child and asks them their most desired wish. This stage is called wish capture. In some countries, the wish children each receive a wish coin, which signifies that their wish will come true.

After that we move on to wish design, where we make sure that the best experience to fulfill the child’s desired wish is delivered. Then we enter the wish anticipation period. The child awaits their most coveted desire with great excitement which can pose as a much-needed diversion for them, which leads us to the best step of this beautiful wish journey, the wish realization. The child’s most desired wish finally gets fulfilled.
Lastly, we have the wish impact stage of the wish journey. The joy on the children’s faces, their gleaming smiles, that is the main purpose of the wish journey, and it can not conclude without it.

What is the criteria of eligibility?

Every child who is as old as 3 but younger than 18 and living with a critical illness could be eligible for their wish to be granted . The maximum age can vary from country to country but in all the countries that Make-A-Wish operates in, the maximum age of eligibility is either 16 or 18.

Make-A-Wish also has set medical criteria to determine which children are eligible for a wish. A doctor who is treating the child justly determines whether the child can be medically eligible under the criteria or not. Once the doctor deems the child medically eligible for the wish, the eligibility process concludes.

Why did you set criteria for eligibility?

Make-A-Wish has set an eligibility criterion to make sure the children who are living with critical illnesses have their wishes granted. The age eligibility has a lower cut-off of 3 years of age because Make-A-Wish believes that children below that age have not yet developed the communication skills to properly express their wishes.

How do you grant a wish?

Make-A-Wish is able to grant wishes through the help of their caring workers, donations from millions of supporters, medical authorities and communities. Whenever Make-A-Wish is notified of an eligible child, they get to work to determine all the possible ways they can make the child’s wish a reality.

Once they’ve designed the wish to be perfect they set the plan into motion and change the child’s life forever by making them have an experience they will never forget!

Sarah Labelle

Sarah Labelle

Sarah Labelle is Digital Fundraising Manager at Make-A-Wish International, having joined the organization in 2022 after a previous mission in humanitarian healthcare. Sarah oversees new donor acquisitions and conversions through our digital channels. Additionally, Sarah manages the e-commerce side of the website, email marketing and strives to deliver a smooth donation process for all Make-A-Wish supporters.