Wishes are much more than a nice gift or trip—for many kids, they are one of the most vital tools they have in their fight against a critical illness. Even before it’s granted, a wish can provide children with the strength they need to comply with treatment and can offer a light of hope in a dark time.
Critical illnesses take so much from these amazing children, but at Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida®, we want them to know that the sky is truly the limit. That’s why we encourage them to dream big!
There are five main types of wishes that we receive: “I wish to be…”, “I wish to have…”, “I wish to go…”, I wish to meet…”, and “I wish to give.”
“I Wish To Be…”
At one time or another, every child wonders what it’s like to be someone else. Perhaps a favorite superhero or TV character, maybe a famous athlete or actress. But when a child is living with a critical illness, this wish disguises a desire for something very simple: a day as a normal kid.
When a child wishes “to be,” Make-A-Wish pulls out all the stops to make sure the experience is as immersive as possible.
When “Super Cooper” (pictured above) wished to be a superhero, he didn’t just receive a cape and a mask, he got to work with law enforcement to bring the “Florida Bandit” to justice. From start to finish, his joy over his wish experience was as contagious as it was uplifting.
“I Wish To Have…”
Sometimes, just one small change to a child’s life can make a world of difference. For our wish kids, a wish “to have” can serve as a constant reminder of the people who stood behind them during their darkest hours.
When a child is battling a critical illness, they are often forced to go without things that other children take for granted. A wish is their chance to experience the joy of being a kid.
For Janice (above), that was owning a Cocker Spaniel puppy. For Chase, it was having a playhouse to share with his siblings. But for all of our wish kids, it’s a wish that lasts year after year.
“I Wish To Go…”
Critical illnesses have a way of putting a family’s plans on hold, as doctor’s appointments and medical restrictions prevent normal things like vacations.
A wish “to go” is more than just a family trip, however. It’s a much-needed break from the uncertainty that comes from living with a critical illness.
When families go on a wish trip, they never have to worry about booking hotels, making an itinerary, or scheduling activities. Make-A-Wish also considers any special needs that may have to be accommodated—from wheelchair access to whether medications have to be refrigerated.
“I Wish To Meet…”
Every day, the strength, determination, and unshakeable courage of our wish kids cements them as true heroes. But even these warriors have celebrities they look up to!
A wish “to meet” a favorite athlete, singer, or actor not only boosts a child’s spirits during a difficult time, it provides them with memories that they will cherish forever.
For Holin (pictured above), a wish to sing on stage with music sensation Kelsea Ballerini inspired a dedication to support Make-A-Wish, even years later. Holin’s unwavering support of our organization through her annual “Happy Holin-Days” concert helps grant thousands of wishes every year.
“I Wish To Give…”
It’s incredibly rewarding to watch a wish kid receive a wish after going through so many struggles. But it’s even more inspiring when they use their wish to help others.
Occasionally, Make-A-Wish encounters a child whose only wish is to see other people happy. From making a wish that benefits their whole family to donating their wish to a local school or children’s charity, there are countless ways to “pay it forward” and share the joy of Make-A-Wish with the entire community.
From meeting a beloved role model to becoming their own hero, each wish granted by Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida represents more than a fleeting moment of joy. These wishes are transformative experiences, offering strength, hope, and resilience to children battling critical illnesses.
We are continually inspired by the boundless hopes and dreams of these brave young souls and we are honored to watch the magic of a wish touch the hearts of our wish kids as well as the surrounding community.
If you’d like to become involved in bringing the magic of wishes to children in your area, contact your local Make-A-Wish chapter to donate, volunteer, or attend an event.