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Make-A-Wish Foundation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
FormationApril 29, 1980; 44 years ago (1980-04-29)
Type501(c)(3) non-profit organization
PurposeFulfilling the wishes of children with critical illnesses and emergency situations
HeadquartersPhoenix, Arizona, U.S.
President & CEO
Leslie Motter[1]
President Barack Obama with Make-A-Wish recipient Nick Wetzel and his older brother Stephan on December 9, 2016

The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in the United States that helps fulfill the wishes of seriously ill children.[2] Make-A-Wish was founded in 1980[3] and is headquartered in Phoenix.[2] The organization operates through its 59 chapters located throughout the United States. Make-A-Wish also operates in about 50 other countries through 39 international affiliates.[4] Professional wrestler John Cena holds the title for the most wishes granted by a single individual, at over 650 wishes.[5][6]

Hunting and fishing[edit]

U.S. Marines involved in the Make-A-Wish activities for children

Make-A-Wish stopped granting wishes involving hunting-related activities, including fishing, use of firearms or other weapons that are designed to cause animal injury in 1996. This was largely due to concerns over child safety, pressure from animal-sensitive donors, and criticism from animal rights groups.[7] In response, three organizations were formed: Hunt of a Lifetime, which arranges hunting trips for terminally ill children;[8] Catch-a-Dream,[9] which was conceived by Mississippi outdoorsman Bruce Brady and formed by his loved ones following Brady's death from cancer to grant hunting experiences to ill children; and Life Hunts, founded by the Buckmasters American Deer Foundation.

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the 1997 made-for-TV movie A Child's Wish, Missy's wish is to go to the White House to meet the president who was responsible for signing the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 into law, which her father lobbied to pass after being fired for visiting Missy in the cancer ward. Make-A-Wish is not sure she will get to meet the president or be allowed to see the Oval Office, but in the end, President Bill Clinton, playing himself in a cameo appearance, meets her to make her wish come true.
  • A 1997 sketch of the HBO series Mr. Show with Bob and David focuses on a knock-off of Make-a-Wish called "Dream of a Lifetime", an organization run by two men trying to offer a discount for families of ill children, but whose lack of resources or connections ends with one of them in prison.
  • In the South Park episode "Kenny Dies", Make-A-Wish is satirized when they visit Kenny in the hospital and ask what his one wish is.
  • In the Family Guy episode "If I'm Dyin', I'm Lyin'", a parody of the Make-A-Wish called the Grant-a-Dream Foundation was presented.
  • In January 2008, the satirical news site The Onion produced a parody video claiming that the Make-A-Wish was bankrupted due to a child's wish for "infinite wishes". The video was apparently so convincing that some people believed it to be real, and it had to be debunked by the urban legends website Snopes.[10] The Mansion and The Chaser's War on Everything did similar sketches about the Make-A-Wish, the latter causing an unprecedented amount of controversy.[11][12][13][14]
  • In the 2008 feature film New York, I Love You, an unnamed boy (played by Anton Yelchin) takes a girl who uses a wheelchair (played by Olivia Thirlby) to prom night. When they run into an ex-girlfriend and the situation gets awkward, the girl says "Make A Wish" to release the tension, suggesting the boy is granting her wish to attend prom night while being in a wheelchair. Later, she uses the sentence "Make A Wish" again, suggesting she wants the boy to make love to her.
  • Make-a-Wish made headlines in 2013 with an elaborate Batman-themed wish, turning a young child into "Batkid". This wish was heavily publicized, and was chronicled in a documentary entitled Batkid Begins. In 2018 Batkid was considered to be cancer-free.[15]
  • In The Fault in Our Stars, a 2014 American romantic drama film, the character Augustus suggests that Hazel should use the "cancer wish" she received from "Genies" - a fictional organization just like Make-A-Wish - to travel to Amsterdam to visit her favorite author.
  • In a comedy sketch from the Key & Peele season 4 episode "Scariest Movie Ever", Jordan Peele portrays a dying child unsettling his doctor and a Make-a-Wish representative with increasingly disturbing "wishes", deliberately provoking the doctor into calling him a "devil child" and questioning his beliefs about "the essential goodness of children."[16]
  • In the episode "Infamous" of Ninjago, the ninja go to a hospital to fulfill a wish made by a hospital patient through the Grant-a-Wish Foundation, a reference to Make-a-Wish.
  • In Zac & Mia, a 2017 American romance teen drama web television series based on the novel of the same name, the titular character Zac uses the wish he received from Make-A-Wish to recreate prom for Mia after she initially forgoes her own due to her embarrassment over her current medical condition.
  • Four children were guest-stars on the show Cake Boss in 2017, in which Buddy Valastro helped the four children make one-of-a-kind cakes before making a hot air balloon cake for a reception for a Make-A-Wish event.[17]
  • In Survivor: San Juan del Sur, thirteen year-old Make-A-Wish child Austin Russell contributed a reward obstacle course as part of his wish.[18]
  • In the musical Kimberly Akimbo, the titular character Kimberly Levaco, a sixteen-year-old with an unnamed disease that makes her age four and a half times as fast as normal, sends a letter to Make-A-Wish in a song aptly titled "Make-A-Wish", agonizing over what to wish for before settling on a treehouse.
  • In 2022, Disney Cruise Line chose to christen all Make-A-Wish foundation children as the Godchildren of the newest ship in the Disney fleet, the Disney Wish. Previously ships were named after female characters and role models such as Tinker Bell, Jennifer Hudson and Mariah Carey.


  1. ^ "National Leadership". wish.org. Retrieved 2023-01-05.
  2. ^ a b CNN.com – Hunting organization grants wish that Make-a-Wish won't – December 15, 2000 Archived March 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Contact Us. Make-A-Wish. Retrieved on October 9, 2020,
  4. ^ "The Make-A-Wish Story - Make-A-Wish International". 21 September 2020.
  5. ^ Sandy Cohen (2018-03-19). "John Cena shares his love for kids and how they inspire him". AP NEWS. Retrieved 2019-04-08.
  6. ^ Traina, Jimmy (4 May 2020). "Pandemic Can't Stop John Cena From Continuing to Grant Wishes". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
  7. ^ "Herald-Journal - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  8. ^ CNN.com – Hunting organization grants wish that Make-a-Wish won't – December 15, 2000 Archived March 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Catch-A-Dream Foundation".
  10. ^ "Urban Legends Reference Pages: Make-a-Wish Bankrupted by Unlimited Wishes". Snopes. 31 January 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  11. ^ "marcfennell".
  12. ^ "Chaser sketch 'may have been ripped off'". Archived from the original on 2009-06-06.
  13. ^ "Well wishes hub". Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  14. ^ "Sick kids stunt earns Chaser 2-week ban". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 5 June 2009.
  15. ^ "Batkid won our hearts. Now he's cancer free". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  16. ^ Key & Peele - Make-A-Wish, archived from the original on 2021-11-17, retrieved 2019-11-04
  17. ^ Buddy Valastro Helps Kids Make A Wish November 30, 2017.
  18. ^ "'Survivor' host Jeff Probst explains why he stopped that reward challenge". EW.com. Retrieved 2020-12-15.

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