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Wish-Granting Organizations

When a child or teen with an advanced illness such as cancer makes a wish, wish-granting organizations do their best to make it happen.

The wish might be a trip to Greece or to be a state trooper for the day. Or maybe a teen wants a shopping spree or a child dreams of a treehouse.

The goal of wish-granting organizations is to create lasting, meaningful memories for families.

Every organization has different requirements. In most cases, a doctor, member of the care team, or a family member must refer children.  

How wish-granting organizations work

Types of wishes that are granted typically include:

  • Going on a trip
  • Meeting a celebrity or person special to the patient
  • Becoming “someone” for the day such as a pilot
  • Receiving a special gift such as a room makeover, treehouse, or trampoline

Wish-granting organizations work diligently to grant each child’s individual wish as long as it is appropriate, safe, and within the organization’s budget. Children and teen patients shouldn’t be afraid to think big and ask for exactly what they want.

Most wish-granting organizations grant requests to children based on their health, not economic status. Typically, the recipient must be diagnosed before his or her 18th birthday. Many organizations do not allow children under the age of 3 unless the child is not expected to reach his or her 3rd birthday.

The best known wish-granting organization is Make-A-Wish, but there are many others. The United States has wish-granting organizations in all 50 states plus Washington DC, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Many have chapters in countries across the globe.

More information on wish-fulfillment organizations

Give Kids the World has a U.S. and international database of wish-granting organizations. recommends wish-fulfillment organizations for children and those that are family-oriented.

does not endorse any branded product mentioned in this article.

Reviewed: June 2018