Make-A-Wish Foundation

Griffin Fieseler and Riky Bae

“Make-A-Wish America helps to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Based in Phoenix, the organization is one of the nation's leading children's charities, serving children in every community in the United States, Puerto Rico and Guam. With the help of generous donors and more than 25,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish every 38 minutes, on average. It has granted more than 225,000 wishes since its inception in 1980. Visit Make-A-Wish at and discover how you can share the power of a wish.”

--Taken from the website Charity Navigator

Wish: A desire or longing for a specific thing

Every year, millions of children are diagnosed with terminal illnesses. Multiple fall into deep bouts of depression and hopelessness while bedridden in a hospital. Make-a-Wish grants their wishes taking them away from hospitals and giving them hope in a miserable life. The foundation helps to spread awareness to communities about their cause, through wishes open to the public. It also efficiently uses all of it’s money, and having 73.3% of that money being used to grant wishes. A wish is an unalienable right every child deserves to obtain, and the Make-a-Wish foundation is the hero that grants it to terminally ill children.


In 1981, the Make-A-Wish foundation is born, one of the most important groups that supports children with terminal illnesses. Although, the roots of the foundation go back a year before, in 1980. It all started with seven-year old Chris Greicius who was diagnosed with leukemia. Chris always wanted to be a police man, and with the help of Tommy Austin (a DPS officer), a family friend, he became one for a day. Tommy Austin got other officers to aid him in this. Other officers brought their motorcycles and patrol cars while Chris was in a helicopter overhead, flying towards HQ. Chris and his mother got a tour of the station, but Chris was back in the hospital the next day. Chris passes later that night, but word spreads, and his story touches the hearts of people around the country. Everybody is moved by his story, and in the same summer, a couple of officers in Phoenix talk about creating a wish-granting organization. That marks the first official meeting of the Make-A-Wish foundation.

The Make-A-Wish foundation grew as the number of wishes it granted rose. Chris’s story spread around the country, influencing people across the nation. A year later, the organization raised $2,000, enough to grant it’s first wish. The recipient of the wish was a boy Named Poncho “Bopsy” Salazar. Like Chris, Poncho was diagnosed was diagnosed with leukemia. His wish was to be a firefighter, so the Phoenix Fire-Department let him be part of the Engine Nine Crew. Although, like Chris, Poncho passes that night. This story affects everyone as well, helping the organization’s reputation grow, letting it grant even more wishes.


Every year, thousands of children are diagnosed with terminal illnesses in the U.S. Make-A-Wish gives these children a chance by granting them their wishes. Many children with terminal illnesses fall into deep depressions, but Make-A-Wish lifts their spirits by doing this. It is harder to fight a disease if you are hopeless, so if you are full of positive emotions, it helps you fight off the disease. By granting wishes, Make-A-Wish takes them away from the hospital and into happier places. For example, 15 year-old Kurt Weiss was battling cancer, but Make-A-Wish granted his wish, and it filled him with a will to survive.

Make-A-Wish grants thousands of wishes a year, improving the lives of thousands of children. Wishes don’t only affect the children, but they also affect the people around them, like their families. It prevents the grief that a death causes. By instilling hope in the children, it also instills hope into their parents and other people around them. A single wish can go a long way. Plus, later in their life, they can be inspired by their specific wish. Wishes are important, so Make-A-Wish simply grant them.

Wishes Well Deserved

The Make-a-Wish foundation grants wishes to children with terminal illnesses, and gives support to their families. Their unforgettable experience can lead them away from a depressed life, common for kids with diseases such as cancer, and can give them the strength to fight their disease. This gives morale boosting support to children, families of those children, and doctors researching the illnesses. As said in the mission statement of the foundation, the Make-a-Wish foundation plans “ enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy,”. Through it’s endless list of granted wishes, the foundation has met that criteria through the happiness expressed by children during their wishes. Children and families that experience the wish are a mere handful of those affected, as the entire community surrounding it is changed throughout the process.

As wishes are publicly granted, the surrounding community begins to contemplate in what they can do to contribute to further the cause. This occurs due to the foundation’s involvement with communities to grant their wishes. The communities affected by the wish “...discovered that helping sick children is an important thing to do.” These communities have realized how heroic the foundation is, and they are moved by it’s heartwarming work. Not only does the organization contribute to individual children’s lives, but also to communities as a whole. That is what the Make-a-Wish foundation does for the community.

An Effective Organization

Since the program’s launch in 1980, the Make-a-Wish foundation has been as effective as they could possibly be in accomplishing its goals, and giving every ill child a wish they deserve. In a span of a mere 35 years, the organization has granted a nearly unbelievable 225,000 wishes. This calculates to an average of one wish every 38 minutes, leading to an astonishing 6,429 wishes per year, both incomprehensible statistics. Each wish has an average cost of $7500, although somewhat pricey, it is sufficient to have a surplus of donations, due to its endless amount of grants . The Make-a-Wish foundation has been incredibly effective in granting as many wishes as possible. Although it has granted an outstanding number of wishes, it has also been effective in drawing attention to their cause.

Due to the wishes being open to public view, they have drawn widespread attention towards the foundation’s work. These wishes touched countless individuals and “...made a lot of people feel good.” As a result of this, people donate to the foundation, and help it to thrive, and continue its heroic acts. In addition, the attention helps the foundation to persuade communities to wishes granted in their area. This foundation is so widespread, even the United States president Barack Obama has taken note of a certain wish and has appraised its work. The Make-a-Wish foundation has been effective in giving communities awareness about their cause and the diseases that they are fighting. That is how effective the Make-a-Wish foundation is in achieving its goals.

Works Cited

"Charity Navigator Rating - Make-A-Wish America." Charity Navigator. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

"Make-A-Wish® America: How It All Started." Make-A-Wish® America. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

Mattern, Joanne. Helping Children with Life-threatening Medical Issues. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Peterson, Richard. "Make-A-Wish Foundation Brings Joy To Ill Children." USA Today 26 Aug. 1997: n. pag. SIRS Discoverer. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

Pitot, Henry G. "Cancer." Academic American Encyclopedia. Deluxe Library Edition ed. Vol. 4. Danbury: Groiler Incorporated, 1998. Print.

Stewart, Sheila, and Ida Walker. Youth with Cancer: Facing the Shadows. Philadelphia: Mason Crest, 2008. Print.