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Frequently Asked Questions

Wishes

Does “life-threatening” mean “terminal?”
No. A life-threatening illness is not necessarily a terminal illness. Many of our wish children go on to lead healthy lives, remembering fondly the wish that in many cases was an integral part of their healing process.

How much does it cost a family to have a wish granted? Nothing. There is no cost to the family, we take care of everything.

What can a child wish for?
We like to say that a wish is only limited by a child’s imagination; however, some restrictions do apply to protect the safety of the child.

How old does a child have to be to have a wish granted?
The child must be older than 2½ and younger than 18 at the time they are referred to Make-A-Wish® Philadelphia, Northern Delaware & Susquehanna Valley to have a wish granted.

Can the child’s family participate in the wish?
Yes, the wish experience extends to the entire, immediate family living in the home, knowing that parents and siblings want to share in the magic too.

Can a child qualify for a wish if they have received one from another wish-granting organization?
No, a child that has received a wish from another wish granting organization is not eligible for a wish from Make-A-Wish.

Does the family’s financial status matter?
No, the economic background of the child and their family has no bearing on whether or not a wish is granted. The only qualifying factors are age and medical condition.

Are all wishes publicized?
No, families can choose whether they will allow publicity of the wish. We always respect their need for privacy.

What if a child has special medical needs during a wish?
If a child has special medical needs during a wish, they are discussed with the physician and family beforehand and provided for by Make-A-Wish as needed.

Does Make-A-Wish participate in chain letter wishes?
No. Each day, Make-A-Wish and its chapters receive hundreds of inquiries about chain letters claiming to be associated with the Foundation and featuring sick children. However, we do not participate in these kinds of wishes. Some names associated with these wishes are: Jessie Anderson, Shane Bernier, Chad Briody , Amy Bruce, Jeff DeLeon, Rhyan Desquetado, Anthony Hebrank, LaNisha Jackson, Nikisha Johnson, Craig Sheldon, Craig Shelford, Craig Shelton, Craig Sheppard, Craig Shergold, Bryan Warner and Kayla Wightman.

Wish Referrals

What are the medical criteria for having a wish granted?
To qualify for a wish, the child must have a diagnosed illness that is considered to be life-threatening by their physician. We do consider wishes on a case-by-case basis, so it is always best to contact us if there is a question as to whether a child qualifies.

Does the family have to know I am referring their child?
Yes, the family must be aware that the referral is being made.

How do you find the children?
The wish children are referred to us by their parents, physician, social worker, teacher or neighbor. Some kids even refer themselves. Anyone can contact us about how to refer a child to Make-A-Wish. But the family needs to be aware of and agree to the referral.

Are all of the children terminal?
No, Make-A-Wish fulfills wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. A great majority of the children we have helped are still alive today.

What illnesses qualify a child for a wish?
Conditions that generally qualify children for our services include, but are not limited to, various forms of cancer, heart disease, Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy and organ transplants. Children with more chronic conditions like cerebral palsy, Crohn’s disease or spina bifida may qualify if their conditions are coupled with other complications and the combination is considered life-threatening.

Volunteering

How much of a time commitment is needed for volunteers?
Make-A-Wish does not mandate specific time commitments for any volunteers. Some wishes, like gift wishes, are quickly and easily fulfilled. Some wishes, like travel wishes, could take longer because the family travels on their timetable.

I'm not 21 years old. Can I still volunteer for Make-A-Wish? 
Although all wish volunteers must be 21 years old to work on wishes, there are a number of other volunteer opportunities including helping at events, working in the Make-A-Wish office or organizing a fundraiser at school.

Do I have to contribute to Make-A-Wish to become a volunteer?
No, you do not have to make a contribution to Make-A-Wish to become a volunteer. However, you will have to pay for a criminal background check which is required by Make-A-Wish America. 

Do wish volunteers travel with the family/child?
No, there are 61 other Make-A-Wish chapters around the country. When we send a wish family to another state, that chapter will help facilitate the wish.

Why are wishes handled by wish teams rather than individuals?
A two or three-person team provides a good support network when working on wishes. If one volunteer is busy, the other one can pick up the slack. And in emotional situations, it is good to have a wish partner to lean on. Finally, working in teams helps to protect volunteers from potential accusations of impropriety.

Donating

How do you pay for the wishes?
We rely entirely on private donations from individuals, companies, foundations, schools and corporations. We receive no government funds or grants.

How much of Make-A-Wish's funds are spent on wishes?
Approximately 84% of every dollar you contribute to Make-A-Wish® Philadelphia, Northern Delaware & Susquehanna Valley is used directly to help grant wishes. This percentage far exceeds the standard upheld by organizations monitoring the work of charities.

How are the rest of Make-A-Wish's funds spent?
9.9% is used on fund raising, 7% is used on administration and as stated above, more than 84% are used to make wishes come true.

Does Make-A-Wish conduct telemarketing campaigns?
No, Make-A-Wish has a policy against telemarketing because it is considered intrusive and not cost-effective. However, be careful of sound-alike organizations that conduct aggressive telemarketing campaigns. Many donors are confused and think they are donating to Make-A-Wish. They are not.

Will my donation help local children or will it be sent to your national organization?
Donations raised in our chapter territory stay local to help fund wish granting of children in our area. Donors can request that their donation be restricted to a specific geographic area, if desired.

Do you receive funding from the United Way?
While Make-A-Wish is not a United Way agency, we do participate in its Contributor’s Choice program in many of the counties it serves. 

Can I donate my airline mileage to Make-A-Wish?
Yes. Your donation of airline mileage can help us grant thousands of travel wishes. To donate your miles, visit our airline donation page

Does Make-A-Wish telemarket?
Make-A-Wish does not, under any circumstances, engage telemarketers to raise money, despite sometimes being confused with other organizations that do. In fact, Make-A-Wish has a nationwide policy against telephone and door-to-door solicitation. There are a number of other sound-alike organizations – some also with “wish” in their names. Make-A-Wish has no affiliation with any other wish-granting organization. If you receive a call from someone asking for a donation, that person does not represent Make-A-Wish.

Can my financial contribution be tax deductible?
Yes. Make-A-Wish Philadelphia, Northern Delaware & Susquehanna Valley is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. As such, financial contributions may be deductible for federal income tax purposes. Please consult with your financial advisor to determine the extent of tax deductibility.

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Make-A-Wish® Philadelphia, Northern Delaware & Susquehanna Valley
5 Valley Sq, Suite 210
Blue Bell, PA 19422
(215) 654-9355
Toll Free (877) 663-9474
Make-A-Wish® Philadelphia, Northern Delaware & Susquehanna Valley, Susquehanna Valley Office
1054 New Holland Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17601
(717) 283-4880

Make-A-Wish® Philadelphia, Northern Delaware & Susquehanna Valley, Northern Delaware Office
100 W. 10th Street, Suite 106
Wilmington, DE 19801
(302) 482-4467