THE STEADFAST support Disney provides to Make-A-Wish® dates back to the first official wish kid, Frank "Bopsy" Salazar, whose wish was granted in 1981. Since, Disney and Make-A-Wish had grantes more than 100,000 global wishes together.
Disney wish experiences encompass the diversity of its theme parks and resorts, cruise line, celebrity superstars and media properties. Additional support comes from Disney employees, who give generous amounts of time, money and in-kind services to assist Make-A-Wish in our vision of granting every eligible child's wish. Disney VoluntEARS make big differences in the lives of wish kids and their families.
Each wish experience with Disney is unique - fulfilling the one true wish of a child with a life-threatening medical condition and building family togetherness. When parents tell us about a child's wish with Disney, they talk about the "nice surprises" and imaginative experiences that exceeded all expectations - how every little details was made perfect for their child.
In 2014, more than 7,000 wishes in the United States involved Disney's help, and every year, Disney continues to enrich the lives of wish kids around the world by bringing them hope, strength and joy. The timeless bonds and memories Disney has created have helped kids through treatments, helped them overcome doubts and despair, and helped them feel and get better - because wishes work wonders.
As we look back at the past 100,000-plus wishes and reflect on the contributions Disney has made to wish kids around the world, we celebrate the wonderful work they have done - and continue to do.
Anatomy Of A Wish
THERE'S ONE THING every Make-A-Wish® experience has in common - that no two are exactly alike. But they each follow a process to go from a vision in a sick kid's imagination to a real, life-changing event.
Here's where each wish starts: Someone familiar with Make-A-Wish knows a kid who might be eligible. This could be a parent, a close family member, a medical professional. Sometimes, kids even refer themselves.
The chapter will gather additional information from the family and the treating physician to better understand whether the child's condition qualifies for a wish. Once we confirm the child's eligibility, the chapter schedules a meeting with the family. This is usually with our volunteers, but sometimes includes chapter staff members.
Meeting the Volunteers
The impact of wishes starts right here: We've had kids who said that their meeting with a wish-granting team helped take their mind off of major surgeries the next day.
During this meeting, volunteers take their time to get to know wish kids. They ask questions and talk to them about their interests and ideas. They'll use a variety of resources to help them best understand a wish kid's vision. Wish kids are in no way required to decide on their wish during that first visit. It's a big deal, so it deserves some careful thought. Of course, some have something in mind from the time they hear the words "Make-A-Wish."
Behind the Scenes
After kids determine their wish, volunteers and staff members work together to plan the wish. This involves securing funding, gathering volunteers, brainstorming ideas, sometimes even getting sponsors involved. Wish granters might also look for community members with skills related to the wish. Chapters often work together during wishes that involve travel. Some wishes - such as celebrity wishes - may require even more people. They work together to create the type of unforgettable experience only Make-A-Wish supporters can provide.
During and After a Wish
The work isn't over, especially for wishes involving travel. Kids and their families can turn to us with any question, and we do everything possible to sweat the details for them.
Even after the wish has come true, we often hear from wish kids and their families. Some go on to join us as volunteers or even staff members. More than a few of our chapter and national board members have been wish kids or parents. Many others attend Make-A-Wish events. In short, wishes make a positive, lasting change for them. And that's all built on these steps we take to make every wish a life-changing experience.
You can find out more at wish.org.