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WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF GRANTING WISHES?

We are on a quest to bring every eligible child’s wish to life, because wishes are an important part of a child’s treatment journey. Wishes provide kids hope when they need it most, and research shows they have effects on children’s overall well-being and health outcomes.

In fact, wishes have proven physical and emotional benefits that can give children with critical illnesses a higher chance of survival. When a wish is granted, a child replaces fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.


The Dr. Patel Wish Impact Study

We’ve known anecdotally about the transformational power of a wish, and now a first-of-its-kind study from Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH) is opening the door to possibilities of medical and financial benefits.

A team of researchers, led by Anup Patel, MD, director of the Complex Epilepsy Clinic at NCH, examined quality of life and health care utilization among patients who received a wish and a control group who did not. The study found patients who were granted a wish were more likely to have fewer unplanned hospital and emergency department visits. 

Watch the video below to hear Dr. Patel talk about the true power of a wish and learn more about the study here.

More Than Medicine

When children are battling a critical illness, so much of normal childhood is taken away from them — it is exhausting, both emotionally and physically. A Wish is something that gives kids the opportunity to look outside their illness — it restores a sense of childhood back to the child and normalcy back to the family.

Research shows, and physicians agree, wishes can help improve a child's quality of life and produce better health outcomes. Members of the Make-A-Wish Medical Advisory Committee share the life-changing impact wishes have — beyond just medicine — on their patients and their families.

It isn't always necessary to cure in order to heal. ”

— James B. Fahner, MD, FAAP
Chair, Make-A-Wish Medical Advisory Council

Why Wishes Matter

In 2015, Make-A-Wish Israel conducted a study to measure how wish-granting experiences influence medical outcomes of children with critical illnesses. The results revealed wishes not only increased hope, they also improved the children's physical and emotional health. The wishes made the impossible, possible — helping children replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

Learn more about how Make-A-Wish is helping children improve their emotional health more visibly and successfully than any other organization.

We don’t grant wishes for short-term smiles. We grant wishes to positively impact long-term health results*.

Make-A-Wish was the subject of a study to measure how wish-granting experiences influence the medical outcomes of children with cancer. Sixty-six children were evaluated using three different verified, respected, widely used assessment tools. The tools quantify hope, positive emotions, health-related quality of life and anxiety. 

“It is possible that wishing enabled these children to dream about that seemed unobtainable, out of reach, and thus created an experience of achieving the impossible,” researchers wrote.

And if the impossible can happen once, kids can believe in their ability to live with or even overcome their illnesses. That’s the real purpose of a wish. 


*Shoshani, A. Mifano, K. Czamanski-Cohen, J. (2015). The effects of the Make a Wish intervention on psychiatric symptoms and health-related quality of life of children with cancer: a randomized controlled trial. Quality of Life Research, 25(5), 1209-1218. doi 10.1007/s11136-015-1148-7

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WHO CAN REFER A CHILD?

Make-A-Wish accepts referrals from:

  • Children being treated for a critical illness
  • Parents or legal guardians
  • Medical professionals (typically a doctor, nurse, social worker or child-life specialist)
  • Family members with detailed knowledge of the child's medical condition

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