The Make-A-Wish Story

It all started with a single wish. Watch the amazing, true story of Make-A-Wish's founding and how one community came together to bring a life-changing wish to life.

Mission
Together, we create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.
 
Vision
To grant the wish of every eligible child.
 
Values
Our values serve as the map to attain our vision of granting the wish of every eligible child. They are a clear guide to our priorities and lead the way in everything we do.
 
Child Focus: We always put wish children first.
 
Integrity: We are honest, transparent and respectful.
 
Impact: We deliver life-changing work.
 
Innovation: We are bold, imaginative and creative.
 
Community: We are a diverse group of people working together towards a common goal.
 
 
Our Global Reach

Founded in Phoenix, Arizona in 1980, when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, Make-A-Wish is one of the world's leading children's charities.

After the start of Make-A-Wish in the United States, interest in granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions quickly spread to other nations. In 1993, Make-A-Wish International was officially formed to serve five countries outside the U.S. - and now helps to serve children outside the United States in more than 50 countries on five continents through its 41 affiliates. Make-A-Wish America grants the wishes of children in the United States through its 62 chapters. With the help of generous donors and over 40,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish has collectively granted approximately nearly 450,000 wishes worldwide since 1980. 

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The First Wishes

Chris Greicius - The Wish that Inspired Make-A-Wish

Chris-Greicius-1980

The creation of Make-A-Wish was inspired in the U.S. in 1980 by the fulfillment of a wish of a 7-year-old boy with leukemia named Chris Greicius, who wished to be a policeman. His mother, several friends and a group of police officers, with the cooperation of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, granted his wish with a custom-made uniform, helmet, badge, and helicopter ride! After the wish, those involved were inspired and eager to bring that same hope, strength and joy they saw as a result of Chris’ wish, to more children. Their simple idea has led to the continued growth of the world’s largest wish-granting organization, now operating in more than 50 countries.

 

Bopsy Salazar - The First "Make-A-Wish" Child

Bopsy-Salazar-1981

The magical relationship Make-A-Wish has formed with Disney® on a global scale began with Frank "Bopsy" Salazar, the first official wish child of Make-A-Wish. Like Chris, he was a 7-year-old boy in the U.S. who was diagnosed with leukemia and revered people in uniform. Make-A-Wish set out to grant his wish to be a firefighter, and thanks to wonderful support from our Disney friends, more fun was in store for his magical wish when he became the first of a long history of wish children to visit a Disney Theme Park.