Our jobs are not just about diagnosing and treating adults and in my case, children. It is about making a difference in our patients’ lives. Because of the care we provide our wish kids and the opportunity we offer them by referring to Make-A-Wish®, we help the family create lasting memories and truly transform lives. That’s pretty heroic!
Our heroes are also the children we are privileged to serve through Make-A-Wish. A child with a critical illness who has reached the age of 2-1/2 and is younger than 18 at the time of referral is potentially eligible for a wish. Every year, 50 families in North Dakota learn their child is diagnosed with a critical illness. Children who may be eligible to receive a wish can be referred by one of four sources:
- Medical professionals (typically a doctor, nurse, social worker, or child-life specialist)
- Parents/legal guardians of the potential wish kid
- Potential wish kids
- Family members with detailed knowledge of the child’s current medical condition
Make-A-Wish does not cold call the families of potentially eligible kids. Medical professionals play such a vital role to the success of our vision. We ask you to please exercise compassion and suggest to families that they contact us directly with any questions about our program. After a child is referred, Make-A-Wish will work with the treating physician to determine the child’s eligibility, i.e. suffering from a progressive, degenerative, or malignant condition currently placing the child’s life in jeopardy.
With a solid treatment plan and our wish child answering the question, “If you had one wish what would it be,” we partner to give a child hope. There is a big misconception about Make-A-Wish that wishes are reserved only for those who need a “last dying wish.” Referring children to Make-A-Wish does not mean that the child is terminally ill. As medicine has evolved, many of our wish kids go on to thrive and live long lives. Some are even wish granting volunteers. Please go to md.wish.org to understand how you can refer a child and to review our Referral Guidance Sheets that describe the medical conditions that typically qualify a child for a wish.
We all want improved outcomes for our patients. A wish is more than just a nice thing for a child suffering from a critical illness. Surveys and recent studies are showing how wishes can improve a patient’s outlook and outcomes; for example, giving him or her an important incentive during treatment – something to look forward to and get stronger for. In fact, my peers and I on the national Make-A-Wish Medical Advisory Council are witnessing improved treatment compliance because of wish experiences as well as positive outcomes in health overall.
As a local chapter Board member and Medical Advisor for Make-A-Wish North Dakota, together, we are dedicated to granting every eligible child’s wish. We cannot achieve this vision without heroes like you. Thanks for your part in transforming lives, one wish at a time.