Watching a child struggle with the physical and emotional effects of a critical illness is never easy. It’s even more difficult when you’re a close friend, family member, or a medical provider responsible for them.
At Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida, we’ve seen the difference that a wish can make in the life of a critically ill child. In fact, recent studies have shown a granted wish has a huge impact on our wish families.
Parents and medical providers report that children are happier, more optimistic, and more compliant with necessary treatments both before and after their wish. Granting wishes changes the lives of these strong and resilient children. But we can’t do it alone.
While we grant a variety of wishes, Make-A-Wish of Central and Northern Florida relies on people like you to refer children for a wish so we can continue this life-changing mission. Here’s how you can help.
Who Is Eligible for a Wish?
In order to qualify for a wish, children must meet the following criteria:
- Between the ages of 2½ and 18
- Diagnosed with a critical illness (i.e. progressive, degenerative, or malignant condition that is placing the child’s life in jeopardy)
- Have not received a wish from another wish-granting organization
Make-A-Wish takes care of expenses related to the wish and family income is never considered in the wish granting process.
Who Can Refer a Child to Make-A-Wish?
Wish experiences are always viewed through the lens of the child’s health, safety, and wellbeing. We only accept referrals from those who are intimately acquainted with the nature of the child’s condition, so we can make informed decisions that keep their wellbeing in mind.
Children may be referred to Make-A-Wish by:
- Parents or legal guardians
- Family members with detailed knowledge of the child’s condition
- Medical providers (doctor, nurse, social worker, or child-life specialist)
However, if none of these apply to you, don’t let that stop you from contacting us! Those who are not a member of the child’s family or medical team, can still submit a request for more information.
From start to finish, all medical information will be kept confidential. We do not share this information with any third parties unless required and only with the consent of the child’s legal guardians.
How To Refer a Child to Make-A-Wish Jacksonville
We’ve done our best to make referring a child to Make-A-Wish as easy as possible.
Referral forms are located on our website. Start out by choosing the correct form based on your relationship to the child (i.e. family, medical team, or request for additional information).
You will need the following information in order to complete the form:
- Contact information for the child/legal guardian
- Child’s date of birth
- Child’s medical condition
- Contact information for the treating medical professional (name, phone number, treatment facility)
After submitting a referral, our team will confirm that the child meets all eligibility requirements.
What Happens Next?
The child will then attend a virtual meeting with one of our Wish Discovery Volunteers to make their wish!
During the session, our volunteers will learn about the child’s likes and dislikes to generate three wish ideas. Coming up with more than one potential wish allows us to grant wishes in a timely manner.
Next, our team of board members, volunteers, donors, and doctors will discuss the details to select a final wish and start the wish granting process.
Finally, we bring a bit of magic to the experience by hosting a wish reveal party! In addition to being a fun event with their closest friends and family, the party also lets the child know which wish will be granted.
You Can Make a Difference
Over the years, Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida has granted more than 7,000 wishes.
If you know of a critically ill child that would benefit from having their wish come true, we would love to hear about them! We have an amazing team of board members, leaders, supporters, and volunteers who are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of these incredible children.