President Barack Obama with Make-A-Wish recipient Nick Wetzel and his older brother Stephan on December 9, 2016.
Children who may be eligible to receive a wish can be referred by one of the following four sources:
- A medical professional treating the child (typically a provider (MD, DO, PA or NP), nurse, social worker or child-life specialist)
- The child's parents or legal guardians
- Another member of the wish kid's family with current and complete information about the child's medical condition and treatment
- The potential wish kid
To refer a child, the appropriate referral source can use the Make-A-Wish online referral form or contact the Make-A-Wish chapter closest to them. All medical information is considered confidential and is not discussed with outside parties unless it is required for the wish and the child's parent(s) or guardian(s) have given their consent.
A child with a critical illness who has reached the age of 212 and is under the age of 18 at the time of referral is potentially eligible for a wish. After a child is referred, Make-A-Wish staff work with each child's healthcare team to determine if a child is medically eligible for a wish, based on the medical criteria established by Make-A-Wish. In addition, a child cannot have received a wish from another wish-granting organization.
Each Make-A-Wish chapter follows specific policies and guidelines for granting a child's wish. Make-A-Wish works closely with the wish child's physician and family to determine the most appropriate time to grant the wish, keeping in mind the child's treatment protocol or other concerns. Most wish requests fall into five categories: I wish to go, I wish to be, I wish to meet, I wish to have, or I wish to give.
Professional wrestler John Cena holds the title for the most wishes granted by a single individual, at over 650 wishes.
On June 24, 2022, Disney Cruise Line honored all Make-A-Wish children as godchildren of the Disney Wish.