More than Medicine
When children are battling a critical illness, so much of normal childhood is taken away from them — it is exhausting, both emotionally and physically. A wish is something that gives children the opportunity to look outside their illness — it restores a sense of childhood back to the child and normalcy back to the family.
Research shows, and physicians agree, wishes can help improve a child's quality of life and produce better health outcomes. Members of the Make-A-Wish® America Medical Advisory Committee share the life-changing impact wishes have — beyond just medicine — on their patients and their families.
"It isn't always necessary to cure in order to heal.”
— James B. Fahner, MD, FAAP | Chair, Make-A-Wish Medical Advisory Council
Why Wishes Matter
In 2015, Make-A-Wish Israel conducted a study to measure how wish-granting experiences influence medical outcomes of children with critical illnesses. The results revealed wishes not only increased hope, they also improved the children's physical and emotional health. The wishes made the impossible, possible — helping children replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.
Learn more about how Make-A-Wish is helping children improve their emotional health more visibly and successfully than any other organization.
We don’t grant wishes for short-term smiles. We grant wishes to positively impact long-term health results*.
Make-A-Wish was the subject of a study to measure how wish-granting experiences influence the medical outcomes of children with cancer. Sixty-six children were evaluated using three different verified, respected, widely used assessment tools. The tools quantify hope, positive emotions, health-related quality of life and anxiety.
“It is possible that wishing enabled these children to dream about that seemed unobtainable, out of reach, and thus created an experience of achieving the impossible,” researchers wrote.
And if the impossible can happen once, children can believe in their ability to live with or even overcome their illnesses. That’s the real purpose of a wish.
*Shoshani, A. Mifano, K. Czamanski-Cohen, J. (2015). The effects of the Make a Wish intervention on psychiatric symptoms and health-related quality of life of children with cancer: a randomized controlled trial. Quality of Life Research, 25(5), 1209-1218. doi 10.1007/s11136-015-1148-7