The Make-A-Wish Foundation, which makes dreams come true for critically ill children, has released the results of a study that shows the impact of wishes on children and families as they undergo treatment. The study not only researched immediate emotional effects, but also gathered data on long-term effects and how the wishes impact quality of life and promote resilience. The results of the study show that “alumni, parents, and medical providers overwhelmingly agree that the wish experience contributes substantially to physical, mental, and emotional health.”
For wish alumni, 95% said that the wish made them feel more hopeful for their future, 92% said their wish brought their family closer together, and 90% said that it gave them more confidence and boosted their self esteem. One wish alumni, who wished to remain anonymous shared, “before I received my wish, my quality of life was horrible, and I had no desire to keep going. When I learned I would be getting a wish, I had something that made me want to fight for my life.”
Wish parents felt similarly with 91% saying that they believe the wish experience gave their child a better chance for survival, 95% saying that it improved their family’s well-being, and 91% believing that the wish experience is a necessary part of treatment. One wish parent who wished to remain anonymous shared, “I think in looking back on my son’s cancer/treatment/recovery, the Wish trip is in many ways more memorable than his sickness…even 8 years later we have more memories of his wish trip and the fun we had together as a family then we do of the illness.”
The Make-A-Wish Foundation has been changing lives since its inception by giving children and their families a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, such as meeting a celebrity or going to a favorite destination, that lifts their spirits and makes them believe anything is possible. Among the themes found in the study, the top used words show that the wish experience gave happiness, joy, hope, and strength to children and their families.