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How We Grant Wishes

Step 1: Referral

A child is referred to us. Referring a child is easy – click here to learn how. Children who have reached the age of 2½ and are under the age of 18 at the time of referral – and have not received a wish from another wish-granting organization – may be eligible for a wish.

Click here to read testimonials about the power of a wish.

Click here to read about the impact of a wish.

As a kid, Zack loved everything to do with dinosaurs!

As a kid, Zack loved everything to do with dinosaurs!

Step 2: Medical Eligibility

We contact the child's health care specialist (doctor, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant) to confirm that the child has a life-threatening medical condition and meets the medical criteria for a wish. The specialist also helps us decide if the child's wish is safe and appropriate for the child's medical condition.

Step 3: The Wish

Once we receive a signed medical authorization form from the specialist and the family is ready to begin the wish process, a volunteer wish team is assigned. Teams are made up of two or three volunteers who have completed our wish granting training. To learn more about volunteer training, visit our Volunteering section.

The wish team arranges a visit to the family. Make-A-Wish® sends the wish team toys, gifts and T-shirts to give to the wish child and his or her family.

During the visit to the family, the wish team's primary responsibility is to help the child identify his or her most heartfelt wish. The wish team brings markers, crayons and paper so the child can have fun drawing and visualizing his or her wish. When the possibilities are nearly endless, sometimes kids may have a hard time deciding on the perfect wish, and it may take a couple of visits before the child makes up his or her mind.

Step 4: Creating Joy

Once the wish is determined, the magic begins. Depending on the type of wish, airlines are called, limos are booked, purchases are made and parties are planned. The wish team stays in touch with the family as our staff plans the wish. With the help of donors, local retailers and vendors, the wish team and staff dream up surprises, seek in-kind donations, organize itineraries and set dates. No detail is too small. But for the wish child, the details don't matter. We make sure they see only the magic.

The wish date arrives. It's time for fun, magic and memories.

Old Blue Eyes with his dinosaur!

Old Blue Eyes with his dinosaur!

Get Started

To learn more about referring a child who lives in the United States or one of its territories, you may use our Referral Inquiry Form.

To learn more about referring a child residing outside the United States, please contact Make-A-Wish®International. If you are not eligible to refer a child, please ask the child's family to visit our website or international affiliate.

Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Inc.
The Gulf Tower
707 Grant Street, 37th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1938
(412) 471-9474
Toll Free (800) 676-9474
Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Southern West Virginia Office
888 Oakwood Rd
Oakwood Center, Suite 330
Charleston, WV 25314
(304) 342-9474
Toll Free (800) 664-9474
Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Northern West Virginia Office
913 Canyon Road
Morgantown, WV 26508
(304) 292-5600
Toll Free (888) 808-9474