Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

Make-A-Wish Foundation Makes the World a Worse Place

Posted by Michael Dickens on October 10, 2010

The Make-A-Wish Foundation is an organization that grants wishes to critically ill children. These wishes are often heartwarming and even entertaining. And that’s a problem.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation is one of the more glorified charities. Children are granted extravagant wishes in order to make them happy. And yes, these wishes do make the children happy. But for how long? A kid gets a gift and becomes very happy, but will soon become bored with it. A kid gets an experience, which he will hold in his memory, but that first burst of happiness will never be reclaimed and the memory will slowly fade. What the Make-A-Wish Foundation is really doing is providing short-term pleasure.

But this short-term pleasure for the child often also means a big publicity stunt for the Foundation. It’s quite an entertaining charity, really. But the problem is, the purpose of a charity isn’t to be entertaining. It’s to help people.

Does the Make-A-Wish Foundation help people? Well, strictly speaking, yes. But they’re doing a pretty bad job of it. They claim that they “grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.” How about you enrich the human experience with medical research, or by helping to treat children who have preventable diseases? It seems to me that that would be far better than what the Foundation is currently doing.

By campaigning for their own cause, MAW draws funding away from causes that do much more good for the world. In this sense, it makes the world worse in a very concrete way. Donors have a limited amount of money that they are willing to give to charity, and by giving it to MAW, they fail to give it to another, more beneficial cause.

According to their website, they spend on average $7362 per wish. In 2009, they spent $135 million on granting wishes. While these wishes did provide temporary happiness for suffering children, that’s just about all they did. They didn’t solve any real problems or alleviate any long-term suffering. [1]

What could have been done with that money? The money spent on one wish could pay for the educations of dozens of children in India. It could provide mosquito nets for 1400 people and prevent approximately seven deaths. That means with their annual budget, the Foundation could save the lives of over 100,000 children who endure just as much suffering as—if not more than—the kids who get wishes from MAW. But all that is thrown away, because the people at Make-A-Wish Foundation decided that granting fleeting wishes to a few select children is worth more than all that.

Notes

[1] A number of commenters have corrected me on this statement. While I may have underestimated the amount of good that MAW does, it is inconceivable that they do anywhere close to as much good as an organization such as the Against Malaria Foundation (linked in the previous paragraph); and MAW directs funds away from other charities that do a great deal more good.

[2] Many commenters have expressed that the children who work with MAW experience a great deal of joy. I understand this. It somewhat saddens me when they fail to see that an organization such as the Against Malaria Foundation (AMF) produces comparable or greater effects many times over, and they willingly give preference to the option that leaves so much unnecessary suffering in the world. For every one American child with leukemia AMF fails to serve, MAW misses thousands of children who are likely to die from malaria.

56 Responses to “Make-A-Wish Foundation Makes the World a Worse Place”

  1. Matt Helm said

    Perhaps ‘Make A Wish Foundation is Poor Allocation of Charity money’ would be a more appropriate title? It’s not like all the money they spend would necessarily go to a different charity if not to them. I do see what you’re getting at, how it’s more for making people go “aww” then it is for helping people.

    • Sierra said

      Its giving a child happiness although it wont last forever the memories will for most of these children. Its helping a child/adolescent enjoy there life for a bit and get away from there illness mentally.

  2. I cannot let this blog entry go unchallenged. I work for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and I wonder if you really think that the world is worse off because we’re granting wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. I can tell you that the benefit of the wish experience goes beyond a moment in time. Doctors tell us that the wish experience gives their young patients something that medicine cannot — an improved outlook, a better state of mind, and often a newfound strength to fight their illnesses. More and more doctors tell us that they incorporate the wish experience into their treatment regimen because it has a powerful, long-lasting and positive effect on their patients.

    Parents of wish kids, even the wish recipients themselves confirm this. They don’t talk about being uplifted for one day. They talk about their lives being changed for the better permanently.

    Of course funding needs to be put toward finding cures. Just as it needs to be put toward other worthy causes, like the Ronald McDonald House, which doesn’t work toward curing illnesses but nonetheless works to help improve the experience children have as they undergo life-saving, but debilitating and frightening treatments. Same is true for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

    If your theory had validity to it, doctors themselves would be calling for an end to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in favor of redirecting that money toward research against the myriad of illnesses children who come to us are afflicted with. But they’re not, because they recognize the benefits of the wish experience on their children. And besides, we raise about $250 million per year to support all of our activities in the United States. Divvy that up amongst the research efforts for the scores of illnesses our children have, and it would have zero impact on quickening the day when cures are found.

    Take another look at the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Listen to what the medical community says about its value. You may reach a different conclusion than you have in this blog.

    Paul Allvin
    Vice President of Marketing and Communications
    Make-A-Wish Foundation of America

    http://wish.org

    • Paul, thank you for your reply. I’m glad to hear from a representative of the Make-A-Wish Foundation itself. I think Matt Helm is right when he says that the Make-A-Wish Foundation doesn’t actually make the world worse off; in fact, I totally agree that it makes the world better. However, it doesn’t make the world a whole lot better. As I explained in my article, there are far more efficient ways to use resources.

      If your theory had validity to it, doctors themselves would be calling for an end to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in favor of redirecting that money toward research against the myriad of illnesses children who come to us are afflicted with. But they’re not, because they recognize the benefits of the wish experience on their children.

      The job of a doctor is to help the sick, not to decide how charities spend their money. However, if you asked a doctor whether he’d rather you invest money in disease care and prevention or in granting “wishes,” he would probably prefer the former. (I’d be interested to know if anyone has ever scientifically asked such questions of doctors before.)

      And besides, we raise about $250 million per year to support all of our activities in the United States. Divvy that up amongst the research efforts for the scores of illnesses our children have, and it would have zero impact on quickening the day when cures are found.

      $250 million really has no effect on research at all? It seems obvious that that money has at least some effect. You could argue that it’s a negligible effect, but $250 million is a lot of money. Even if it has a negligible effect on medical research, there are plenty of other causes to invest in that could really use the money — and could get a lot more benefit from it than could a bunch of kids who just really want to go to Disneyland.

      Take another look at the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Listen to what the medical community says about its value.

      And what exactly has the medical community said about its value? I haven’t heard much.

      To address the central point:

      You are completely right that the Make-A-Wish Foundation does good (although I don’t think it does quite so much good as you say it does), but that misses the point. While we are helping people, we may as well help as many people as possible by as much as possible, given that we have limited resources. We could spend that $7000 to feed two hundred fifty children for a week. Or we could buy 1500 mosquito nets to prevent malaria in Kenya, probably saving around a dozen lives and improving the quality of many more (calculated from [1], [2]). But instead, we grant a wish to a single child. Yes, this child’s spirits will be raised. The wish may even be lifechanging. But it just cannot compare to the sum of all the joys and feelings that could be experienced in the whole of a single life, much less a dozen lives.

      • Joe said

        Do you have children? I seriously doubt you do because you cannot tell me that if you did and your child had a life threatening illness that you would not do everything in your power to make them have an amazing life experiences after all the terrible things that child has to endure to fight for his/her life. Medicine is not the only way to heal. Make a Wish does not claim to be a charity that is attempting to cure or fight a disease. It is in the business of enhancing LIFE. Those few days on a Make A Wish trip may be the BEST and last memories a family makes with their child.

        • Sherwin said

          I’m sorry, but what makes the experiences of a few children more important than the chronic issues (i.e., hunger, water, medicine, education) of hundreds of millions of other children worldwide?

      • Justin said

        I think something everyone has to understand is the mission of Make-A-Wish. They weren’t set up to try and find a cure or to solve hunger issues in the world or fix any of the other major issues faced by many these days. There are a myriad of other organizations out there that are set up just for those causes. What Make-A-Wish did was see the need for an organization that could help out children who had life-threatening illnesses. They saw children who were suffering and they wanted to be able to help these children have a little bit of joy in what has to be a very bleak time of their lives. Like Joe said, many of these Wishes provide life long memories for the families of the children as well. Memories where they can remember their son or daughter in a time of happiness instead of in a world of illness.

        Also, let’s say Make-A-Wish wasn’t around… That wouldn’t mean you would definitely have $250 million dollars a year more in these other charities. There are so many other organizations in so many other fields that you would probably see a negligible increase across the board. What you would see is the loss of a great organization that provides kids, in a time of need, a little bit of happiness.

        If you feel they aren’t helping as much as they could in areas that are important to you then choose not to donate to them and donate to a cause that supports what you feel is important.

  3. Taylor said

    Great article, Michael, but I think the comments have been more fun to read. As for Paul Allvin, I’m going to side with Michael on this one, Paul. He has a very valuable point in that the money the Make-A-Wish Foundation spends to grant a single wish to a child, while very pleasant and arguably life-changing to the child, is not an efficient use of resources. While I appreciate the charity that you provide, and I have no inherent issue with you good folks, it seems that the money would be better used to further medical research or benefit the lives of as many people as possible as greatly as possible.

    • Chriss said

      We seem to forget people that this is a “Charity” as is people are not held to gunpoint and forced to give up their money. But rather, they voluntarily contribute there hard earned green backs to a cause they feel is the best. If you have a gripe, why not speak to those who FUND the charity in question? instead of vilifying the charity itself, after all it runs on the generosity of those around it.

  4. phynnboi said

    Is quantity of lives saved really the best metric? Is length of time alive the best metric?

    What of quality of life? I’d say that’s what the Make-A-Wish Foundation is targeting.

    Certainly, it’s harder to do math with subjective measures like quality of life than it is with objective measures like number of lives saved or number of years lived[1]. That makes it easy to come up with strong-sounding arguments in favor of the objective options, but surely quality of life is still important? What point is there in living another five years, for instance, if one must spend it bedridden, and/or in a hospital, and/or in constant pain, and/or in other states low utility?

    I would also question this undercurrent–which I’ve seen many times in myriad contexts–that everyone must be working towards the same set of “optimal” goals. No one I’ve seen make such an argument actually applies it to themselves, of course–the time they spent making that argument, after all, is time they could have spent feeding the hungry, treating the sick, or otherwise far more optimally improving the general utility. Regardless, I don’t see why it’s necessary to ignore all supposedly “suboptimal” goals in the name of pursuing only the “optimal” ones. There are a lot of people on this planet to pursue goals, and there are a lot of charities pursuing goals of various “optimality.” There’s no shortage! We’re no longer a tribe of a few dozen people who need to finely focus their attentions and energies on a tiny set of specific tasks!

    This is to say nothing of the fact that we, as a species, aren’t terribly great at predicting the far future. We’re basically wired to predict the next few seconds, and to some extent the next few days. So how do we know which goals will turn out to have really been optimal or suboptimal in the future? I’m sure you’re aware of examples of research, particularly mathematical research, that seemed totally pointless when it was conducted, yet turned out to have radical implications at a later time.

    The same could be said of people. For all we know, some Make-A-Wish kid could have been saved and inspired by his (or her, yada yada) granted wish to grow up and be some kind of massive altruist. It’s not uncommon for folks who’ve suffered a disease to be inspired to put their energies into making sure future people don’t have to suffer the same disease.

    [1] Although even with those “objective” measures, you can never be 100% certain they’re true–how do you know they’d have died? how do you know they wouldn’t have lived just as long?

    • Quality of life is important. You’ve hit on the major points there, I think. I do disagree in two places, though: I don’t think the Make-A-Wish Foundation is doing a very efficient job of enhancing the quality of life; and “there’s no shortage.” At any given time there are only so many resources in the world. We should use those resources to make people as happy as possible, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation is not doing that. They’re in a position to use a large quantity of assets to do a lot of good, and they are doing some good. But not nearly as much as they could be.

      About our lack of ability to predict long-term outcomes, I think you’re right that we’re not very good at it, but we could get better.

  5. HM said

    You are absolutely free to your own opinions (which I do not agree with), but I think the real point here has nothing to do with the existence of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. If you do not fundamentally support this charity, you need not support it financially. If others feel it is a worthy cause (which apparently many others do, considering the Foundation’s large budget comes only through donations), then they will donate, and it is really doing you no harm. I have not financially given to Make-A-Wish, because I too have other causes that I am more passionate about monetarily contributing to. However, I think Make-A-Wish is an excellent charity, and I believe they do a great deal of good in people’s lives.
    The point is, if there are other causes you care more about, contribute to those rather than cutting this one down. I don’t see what good your criticism is doing, compared to the charity that you are criticizing. There are so many charities out there, that each support a different cause, in a different way. Is Make-A-Wish really the only one that isn’t supporting impoverished countries and feeding starving children? It’s up to each person to decide what cause – if ANY – to support, and most of the time it won’t be exactly what you want. But it’s everyone’s prerogative to decide for themselves what they believe in, and what good they want to attempt to contribute to the world whether it meets your personal ideals or not.

  6. i agree… I definitely think they should substantially limit the cost for each wish.. 7k is way too much, more like 1k (let wishes stay local and realistic, a 1k toy/fashion shopping is plenty enough for pre-18 kids). I’m read stories which the entire family travels to Hawaii and Paris, even Germany for World Cup (that kid later went to an Ivy League, and recovered within a year, I bet his family probably could afford to pay the trip themselves). They even grants wishes to kids whose condition already cured by the time they receive the gifts, oops i mean wish.

    Some wish are wish it (like army rangers or something), some are definitely not, but this organization are spending some serious money in a wrong direction.

    • Shawn said

      Your a pompous ass, mchen444@gmail.com. You say, you read stories about how they get to go to Hawaii, or this or THAT? Well, as a Parent of a child that might not see the next year of her life, or the next 15 years, we all SUFFER. Most of us that have a child that has LIFE THREATENING ILLNESSES, give up everything for our CHILD. There siblings SUFFER, in more than one way. They don’t get to see there sick brother/sister, do the things they get to with them. Parents are most of the time at there bedside, unless another family member is there to help them. I am a father of 5 children which one has CHD.the most severe type of child killer that there is. I can’t tell you the hours and day, and weeks, and months we have spent to away from our other 5 children, with dealing with many health issues she has besides CHD.. So basically your saying in this COMMENTS, a little GIRL and her siblings, shouldn’t get the chance to go to DISNEY, where she is able to see something that she otherwise wouldn’t be able to,because she has something that was “FIXED” in your opinion. You sir/mam, are a total pompous ass, for saying something like that. That she shouldn’t be able to share that with her brother’s and sister, That the “FAMILY” could have done it on there own, with MILLIONS already out of there pocket for the REST of there LIFE, for saving there child to live another day, week, month year? I hope and Pry you will never have to go thru what we have to, as well as MANY other families, no matter, if it is CHD, Cancer, or some other LIFE threatening DISEASE. Uninformed people shouldn’t have to the right to speak there mind when they clearly don’t know what they are talking about.

      • Please refrain from insulting other commenters. Although I appreciate hearing from you, if you post any other comments containing insults, I will edit or delete them.

      • Aleron said

        If you were the parent of a child with cancer and you had the $135 million annual budget of the MAW Foundation; would you donate that money to Make A Wish or would you donate it to Cancer Research? Would you give that money to an organization that gives children treats, or an organization that treats children? Would you spend that money on giving your child a vacation, or on possibly curing him? There are plenty of parents with terminally ill children who find the idea of the MAW Foundation despicable, because their children could have been cured with the money raised by MAW rather than just given a day out.

      • gallardoelise said

        You missed the point of his comment and your use of CAPS makes you look like a buffoon.

        There’s no denying that these kids and their families suffer, but what Mchen444 was saying was that the money spent on granting wishes could be better used for, say, providing clean water and mosquito nets to children in Africa. So it comes down to deciding what’s more important: making the kid and his/her family feel good for one day or providing treatment for many, many more people who actually need that treatment. The kids don’t need a trip to Disneyland or a shopping spree the same way someone dying from thirst and malaria needs clean water, mosquito nets, and medical treatment, and $7000 will buy medical supplies for more than one person.

        Of course, as father of these kids, you’re emotionally invested in Make-a-wish, so your bias is understandable

  7. Melissa said

    My two oldest children were diagnosed with a genetic disease called Friedreich’s Ataxia a few years ago. Basically, both children are losing their physical abilities and will continue to do so until they are wheelchair bound and eventually will need assistance to do anything physical. There is no cure or treatment. Both children have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which goes hand and hand with Friedreich’s Ataxia. You can learn more at curefa.org if you care to take a look. Anyway, both of my children are teenagers. Can you imagine being a teenager and struggling with the knowledge that in the next 2 or 3 years you will no longer be able to walk? Can you imagine struggling with the knowledge that everything in your physical world is deteriorating and there is nothing anybody can do to stop it? Can you imagine at age 17 being told you just had a heart attack? Can you imagine at age 13 being told that you probably won’t live past your mid-twenties? I could go on but you get my point. My son took the news so hard that he has tried to end his own life a couple of times. My daughter at one point refused to get out of bed. No surprise that depression also comes hand in hand with such a diagnosis. I assume any educated person realizes that there is also significant medical costs associated with such a diagnosis and for us, it is multiplied by 2. I work full time and do the best I can to support my family, but after paying all our normal bills, the rest goes to medical. So while it may seem a waste of money to some that there are organizations like MAW that grants wishes to children like mine, I know otherwise. Quite frankly, unless you walk in their shoes, you couldn’t possibly understand what it does for them or doesn’t. All I can tell you is that both of my children are very excited to know that MAW is granting each of them a wish. In fact, my son’s wish of a trip to Jamaica is scheduled for November and for the first time since his diagnosis he is looking forward to something in the future. I have been told by other parents of children with physical disabilities that traveling inspired their children to not give up because there is a big beautiful world out there to experience. I believe this trip will help my son see that as well and quite frankly I would never be able to afford it and in a few years it will be difficult for him to travel. We’ve already experienced the nightmare of air travel when one child is in a wheelchair.

    Bottom line here is that MAW gives something more than wishes to these children and that is “HOPE”. If you ever walk in their shoes, you might understand what “HOPE” means. Until then, spend your money with whatever organization you feel is worthy of it. Perhaps the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance is more in line with your charitable worthiness and I would certainly appreciate any donation you can give to them. In the meantime, take care and I pray you never have to go through what some of these MAW children go through.

  8. Taylor said

    Melissa, while I can appreciate you and your children’s situations, I feel a need here to disagree with you on some things. First of all, while touching, your story is anecdotal. Any intellectual interested in the scientific method or any individual interested in Philosophy and the art of debate realizes that Anecdotal evidence just doesn’t cut it. If you were to present to me a study that stated clearly that 75% of a random sample of 30,000 children granted wishes by the MAW Foundation rated their situation significantly higher than those who didn’t, I might be inclined to look at your story more closely. Rather, I am saddened by it, but nothing more. You have told us a sad story, but without statistics or solid reasoning, the story is just a sad tale, and not an argument for the continuation for the MAW Foundation. In addition, while I’m sure your kids are very happy with the MAW Foundation’s actions for them, please realize that their situation has not “improved.” They are still the same physically, and while their emotional state may have improved, that will not last. These are children we are dealing with, their wishes will likely grant a temporary sense of euphoria, but will have little lasting impact other than fond memories. I hate to seem callous and cruel, but your children need more than petty vacations and large gifts, they need real, solid, emotional support. I realize that their situation is probably traumatic for you as well, but a trip to Jamaica isn’t going to whisk all that away. Hope comes from a state of being, not a plane ride to an exotic place. I know what hope means. I have looked into the abyss and realized that this world we live in isn’t perfect, but it’s still beautiful, and that realization saved me from an attempt at suicide. I realize that my little story is nothing more than anecdotal evidence, but if your children need a plane ride to Jamaica to make them feel that their situation really isn’t all that bad, they need a reality check. There are children in the world who are already dead, have cancer, are dying of HIV and AIDs, and even more that live in unloving households because their mother was raped or their father is an abusive alcoholic. I don’t mean to belittle your situation, but hope comes from a realization that life is quite beautiful, and if they can’t find hope without a plane ride, they come off to me as shallow, shallow people who I would rather not be friends with.

    Too Long, Did Not Read: Plane rides don’t help with depression. Psychiatrists and Psychologists do. They’ll forget what exactly they did in Jamaica by their 30’s.

    And also: I’d totally love to go through what the MAW children went through. Free trips to Disneyland and the like are always welcome by me. MAW didn’t help these kids, they distracted them.

    • Melissa said

      http://www.uwo.ca/fhs/hsm/make_a_wish.html

      http://cstx.wish.org/wp-content/blogs/115/uploads//full.PDF

      http://makeawishsacramento.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/wish-74-i-wish-to-enjoy-my-life-again/

      Here are some links. The second one is a survey done by MAW. I take the word of the MAW children and their families when they say that MAW made a difference in their lives. Nobody ever said that MAW cures cancer or any ailment of these children. If you don’t like MAW, don’t support it, it is that simple.

      I cannot imagine why you would begrudge a seriously and/or terminally ill child of being granted a “wish” whether you think it is a distraction or not. Do you begrudge anybody who receives something charitable from any organization or just MAW children? MAW is just one organization out many that grants wishes to children. The trip granted to my son is just one thing that helps a little and we are thankful for it. However, don’t you ever again suggest or assume my children are shallow and need a reality check. The nerves in their bodies are dying! Reality is something they face 24/7 and being excited and happy about a wish is not shallow. Ask them if they would give you their disease if it meant giving up their wishes and I guarantee you they would without hesitation. Too bad they can’t do that though because you would totally love it right? Seriously, if my children’s disease could be given to you right now, would you willingly take it? Careful how you answer because my daughter hasn’t made her wish yet. Ha ha! Now that would be one heck of a wish!

      • Taylor said

        I would gladly take on your child’s disease, and I would do so with the knowledge that I have helped an individual cope with a problem they couldn’t manage themselves. I’m not saying that your children are truly shallow and need a reality check, I’m saying that the notion of granting exorbitant wishes to children with terrible illnesses, while it brings joy, which is never a bad thing, is not the most reasonable allocation of resources. I don’t think that MAW is a bad thing. I think it’s a great charity that does a lot for a few people, but that’s the problem with it. It doesn’t help a great many people.

        On your sources:
        Wish 74 is anecdotal evidence yet again, and so I can’t use it as a valid basis for your arguments.
        The UWO article is one I can’t use yet again, as it is a collection of anecdotes with no real information aside from quantities of wishes granted or being granted.
        For the CSTX document, I will agree with you on this: These results are valid and usable. It does actually make me happy to know that MAW has done some significant and lasting good: “Between 84 and 97 percent held that the experience produces: respite – an experience of things being better, if only for a short period of time[;] enhanced self-perception[;] decreased feelings of depression or sadness[;] a sense of relief[;] decreased feelings of anxiety or fear[.]” This does make me happy, in fact, delighted to know that real, long-term benefit has come to the majority of the MAW Foundation’s recipients, though I do have a niggling worry. My little fear is that this data may be biased by the parents of the children; Parents may overestimate the good that the granted wish will do in the long or short term. Now I realize that this fear is not founded on specific data, but it’s something that is possible and plausible nonetheless.

        To finish off this post, I didn’t mean to upset you. I am absolutely not saying your children are empty human beings. It’s important to realize, however, that at the age your children are (17 and 13, I believe?), shallowness is a part of a growing human’s personality. This does not mean that they won’t grow out of it, indeed, your seventeen your old may in fact be a very insightful person. This is to say that the shallowness I was implying is not truly a “flaw,” nor is it meant as an insult to their character, but rather as an identification of an age group not yet quite capable of evaluating what’s most important and what’s not. I make these claims without knowing your children personally, so it’s possible I could still have misjudged them, and I will absolutely not “begrudge” them their wish, or my hope and prayers that their conditions will improve. My point in all this is that the MAW Foundation, while it does a lot of good for the people it helps, may not be providing aid in the most effective way on a global level. As Michael points out in his opening post, that money could just as easily fund research into a cure for the diseases, or provide food for almost 100,000 starving children in Africa annually. I feel that the most easily reasonable way to make the MAW Foundation’s work more effective is to lower the value of the wishes, and use that remaining money to grant more wishes. If each wish was reduced to, say, $2,000, they could provide roughly 3.5 TIMES the number of wishes they are currently providing, which means that 3.5 times as many children receive the joy and emotional benefit that your children will ideally receive.

        • LOL said

          “I would gladly take on your child’s disease, and I would do so with the knowledge that I have helped an individual cope with a problem they couldn’t manage themselves.”

          (LOL. this is quite late a reply but)

          your post show you have no idea what your talking about. how could you say that so lightly and confidently?

          and don’t discount anecdotal. 1) If 100% of the 324 anecdotal records, says the kids have changed positively, it’s not a bad number at all. On the contrary, it’s effective. 2) you can never go full experimental in social sciences because humans are dynamic; anecdotal records will always be a great resource triangulated with other tools.

  9. Melissa said

    My children were 13 and 16 when they were finally diagnosed. They are now 16 and 19. MAW accepted them as wish recipients about 2 years ago. After being informed that they were being granted a wish, it took my son 9 months to make his official wish. My daughter has never made her wish and her wish has actually expired. Basically, they have to make an official wish within 2 years of application although the wish itself can be granted anytime after it is officially made. My daughter can reapply anytime before she turns 18 but that will be her decision. Our entire family participated in and assisted with a fundraiser to raise funds not only for my son’s wish but for the wishes of 4 other children. We raised enough money for all 5 children’s wishes with significant proceeds left over to cover the wishes of other children. We personally met and thanked the donors and all of them knew what these kids were wishing prior to making their donations. My son wanted to hold off his trip until he graduated and considering the strain of the past few years, he viewed the trip as the reward for not giving up or giving in. He will finally enjoy his wish in November and he is very excited and I am very happy for him. I don’t expect for him to return and be cured of his disease or depression but if he does experience the improvements as listed in the CSTX document, then that will be great. Since he is 19, he can certainly speak as to whether or not he believes the wish helped him or not. He would have no reason to lie about it nor would I. It is my understanding that a lot of the alumni children of MAW (or the ones who are able) end up joining MAW as a volunteer or fundraise on behalf of MAW because they want other children like them to have the same opportunity. I should also mention that a lot of children wish for things other than trips. I personally know of children who wished for computers, scooters, specialized beds, playground equipment for the disabled, a pony, etc., Recently, one child wished for MAW to give a donation to FARA. http://news.pennmedicine.org/inside/2011/07/a-patients-generous-wish.html Perhaps these children have a much greater understanding about life than you realize.

    MAW goes for the “beyond your wildest dreams” wish and their donors not only understand it but they apparently agree with it. I understand you disagree with it which is why you don’t support it. But, couldn’t we say that all charities have their flaws and could handle money more effectively?

  10. Taylor said

    I’m glad to learn that your children are doing well!

    I could say that, yes. I’ll agree to disagree with you, which is fine by me.

  11. Cheryl said

    I’m amazed at how so many people who have no direct experience with a wish have such strong opinions about its value. As a Mom with an extremely medically compromised child with special needs, I have seen how much my child has looked forward to his trip on Wednesday and how much his spirit has been lifted. Our life is 99% hard. My child has lost his vision, was paralyzed a year ago and has suffered through 8 brain surgeries. If meeting Vanna White and Pat Sajak lifts his spirits for even one day, who are you to put a price on that. Trust me, I am quite the cynic, but after living in various hospitals for months and meeting many families who are all hanging by a thread after watching their child’s endless suffering – I think it is money well spent. Is it a perfect system? – of course not. Does it have value? – of course. In addition, any commentary you get on the positive side is going to be anecdotal – you can’t accurately put a price value on the experiences. In addition, a good percentage of our communication with the foundation was through their volunteer network, not paid employees, and our trip does not come anywhere near $7000. My child has fought back from death five times now and I know other children who lost their battle, but got a few days of fun before they died. Do you know how hard it is to travel when your child is medically fragile? Just having the pin on and having people looking out for you when you are away from home is invaluable. I’d focus your anger and energy elsewhere.

    • Taylor said

      I’m not angry. I never meant to imply that. I’m also not saying it’s not a good service for those who receive it. I’m saying it’s not an optimized service, because not every child with a debilitating condition experiences it. I’d rather everybody with a hard condition get a wish granted. Not just a few thousand.

  12. I have a child with high risk leukemia and I don’t plan on using make-a-wish simply because I don’t have to. I have a family member who works at Disney (free passes aren’t a problem) and we have a good income and plan family trips anyway. I can say however that I am not the norm. We have great insurance and don’t even have co-pays but we still have been surprised at the secondary expenses that come with a cancer diagnosis. Parking fees at hospitals, increased gas cost from driving, help with sibling child care while a sick child is in-patient and requires adult supervision.

    A lot of these families have children that will live, but many have children with no chance of living. If the cancer experience is multiple needle pokes, spinals taps, bone marrow biopsies, port access, and the side effects of chemo which can include hair loss, bone pain, nausea, feeding tubes, hearing loss, vision loss, lasting effects such as thyroid dysfunction, ADHD, infertility, and secondary cancers etc. then what is so wrong with a positive experience as a chaser?

    Of course $130 Million could be used in any number of ways that would make a huge impact. Simply the cost of the computer that I’m typing this on (or the one you typed on, or the one other people read this one) could feed dozens of Indian children for a long time, or provide numerous African children with a year of schooling, or provide vaccines for South American children. The equivalent to what I pay for my monthly energy bill could rock the world of a poor family in rural China couldn’t it? I bet yours could too.

    Maybe a child will ‘only’ have 9 months of chemo and everything that goes with it and then they’ll get to eat breakfast with a Disney Princess before they go swimming with dolphins and that whole experience will only last 5-7 days but the idea with children is to try and balance bad with good. We teach them that with difficult things can turn into good things. Cancer is terrible, and most of the time not preventable, but if you can go through it, and be strong, and hold still for the nurse or the doctor, then at the end of it all something good will happen. Something that you always wanted but haven’t had before. The opposite of your worst nightmare which you are living now.

    We all spend money, that in the opinion of philanthropy, could be better spent somewhere else.
    My daughter’s treatment plan is 2 years and 2 months from start to (hopefully) finish. My friend’s son’s treatment plan is 3 and a half years. In the mind of a child that might as well be forever. It is interesting how so much of that can be replaced when you’re on your Disney cruise, meeting your favorite star, riding your MAW horse, or seeing the Grand Canyon.

    I would venture to guess that the author of this assessment isn’t a parent although I could be wrong. It’s a pretty terrible things to get a dx that your child has cancer. That little person who you have seen every single day of their life, who you have changed your whole life to care for, who is half you and half your spouse. The kid that is always happy, smiles at strangers, sings in the shopping cart at the grocery store, and makes you a better person. If somebody organizes a 5K or a private donation goes to MAW then who cares. Let some little person who has been through more physical suffering than most adults ever meet McNabb, or get a pony, or pose with Mickey. If the child lives then the last memory will stay the freshest in their mind and it will be a good one, if they don’t then at least they got to have or do the one thing they always wanted.

    -Wishiwasjane
    *MAW serves children with life threatening conditions and it not only limited to cancer kids.
    *in 2008 all of America’s human space flight programs cost approx $7 billion.
    *I would encourage everybody, whether you have money or not, to find a charity that you believe in and support it in some way.

  13. WB said

    I’m curious – have you ever spent much time with a child who has cancer? Or a child who cannot properly swallow, so they have to be fed through a tube – for the rest of their life? Or a child with severe diabetes? Or heart problems? How about the parents or siblings of such children?

    I ask this because I don’t think people fully understand the instant, permanent change that takes place in the lives of these children and their families the very moment a diagnosis like that is received. If treating the cancer in a 3 year old was JUST about healing his body, there would be a serious flaw in the system, because it affects so much more than just their physical well being.

    I recently read a news article about the parents of cancer patients being almost as likely as a soldier to end up with PTSD because of the trauma on the mind at the time of their child’s diagnosis, and during the following months that involve many treatments, which can be life-threatening in themselves, in an attempt to rescue the child. I can attest to that. My 3 year old son was diagnosed with Leukemia last July. The last 8 months have been pure hell for my entire family. Not just my son, but his brother and sisters, and my husband and I. In fact, my mom and my husband’s dad took it almost as hard. It affects our ability to do our jobs, my children’s ability to do their school work, all of our friendships, and our marriage, among many other things.

    During the very darkest hours of treatment, many children look forward to whatever their wish may be. Not the same way a “normal” child would look forward to a wish. It literally gives them the will to survive. They know that if they can endure the poison that is being injected into their bodies over and over, when all is said and done, they will be able to do or receive that one thing they always wanted, and they push themselves to get well in anticipation, during a time when otherwise, it would be easy to give in to despair and fall into the depths of depression, which would be detrimental to an already brutal treatment regime.

    Make-A-Wish is also an ongoing relationship. This isn’t just about a trip to Disney World, or a chance to go on stage at a Rascal Flatts concert. The children who make the wish are invited to events on an ongoing basis. Things like princess parties where volunteers dress up as Disney Princesses and they have a tea party for the kids. Or air shows at the local military base. It helps them get to know other children who are like them, and that is priceless.

    These events give the children, their siblings, and their parents hope during a very dark place in their lives. Many families give up (or lose) their family home to pay for treatments, they sell off their valuables, and cut back on expenses that make life more comfortable. There is no more money for fun. The charities that help with that are providing a service that one can never fully understand unless they’ve been through it.

  14. Robbie said

    He’s just jealous that they don’t have a…”MAKE A WISH FOR DUMB ASSES” My little 6yr old little girl had her kidney removed because of cancer, chemo every week for 9month not to boot 3 1/2 weeks in St. Lukes childrens hospital. Her positve attitude through out the ordeal was based apon Her WISH at the end of her treatment. Wow PULL UR HEAD OUT OF UR ASS IDIOT!

    Edit: Please try to keep your posts respectful. -admin

  15. claude said

    If you wish to donate your money to education in India, then do so. There are also many groups that raise money to pediatric cancer research, such at Alex’s Lemonade Foundation or St. Baldricks Foundation.

    Make A Wish Foundation is there to grant the wish of terminal children (my 15 year old son being one of them). One of the greatest gifts they provide is freedom. My son had every choice taken from him. Oncologists and nurses dictated every move and decision. Make A Wish offered him something that was entirely his. His choice, and only his choice. He spent a year making the decision. I’ve often thought the process of deciding on the wish gave as much benefit as the wish itself.

    Since then I have worked to grant the wishes of other children. One made a wish they would never enjoy…a trip we all knew he would never live to experience. But that was his wish. Who can say how that goal inspired him, helped him through the difficult times? The choice was his to make, one of the last he would make in his life. Who are we to judge him for not choosing something more “practical”?

    There are many foundations out there. Many for great and worthy causes. Make A Wish exists for one very specific cause…to provide a dying child a moment of relief. That goal is enough to gain my financial support. If you disagree, then give your money elsewhere. I guess I just wonder why you feel the need to attack those who feel differently than you.

    I have held my 15 year old son in my arms, while his cancer and chemo ridden 6′ 2″ body weighted only 118 pounds. I do not wish that experience on anyone, including you. But you probably need to be there, to understand the value of the “impractical” wishes they grant.

  16. Javis Jakari said

    I’m doing my project on The-Make- A- Wish-Foundation and although some of the things may be true you are still talking negatively about a Childrens foundation that actually may change a persons life or how they feel about themselves.

  17. Nick said

    Ok….I’ll mention the massive Elephant in the room:

    Why the author of this blog feels qualified to write on the topic of “what’s makes this world a better place.” If he/she is one to exert this amount of effort into sitting behind a keyboard and talking down to an organization like the Make a Wish Foundation, well then….

    They are clearly Unqualified to write about “Makes this world a better place”

    It would be like me trying to write about astro-physics… It wouldn’t make any sense at all. Not matter how much a argued…

    This is just your classic case that anyone can say anything on the Internet. Good for you for exersicing your right to do it, do you think you have done your part to make the world a better place because of your writings..? (as I assume that was the purpose). The funny part is……You probably do. Lol

    Mr. Allvin, if this finds you, thank you for the work you and your organization does. You do change lives, you do help, and I know you know that. I am sorry if you had to read this authors attempt to misconstrue your words and try use them out of context in a poor attempt to refute you.
    Thank you to everyone else who commented here as well. Some very interesting points around.
    Cheers…

  18. Shawn said

    I hate to tell you this, but you seem to have a mis conception of what is really going on! Try having a child born with the worst disease possible. Congenital Heart Disease. (CHD), more children are born with this disease, and die from it than all of the cancer’s combined including and not limited to Downs Syndrome. It sickens me to see you have taking something so special and turned it as if MAKE A WISH is something terrible. Having a child that has CHD, and has endured 3 surgeries and she is only 3 years old, I ask for GOD to forgive your insight of negativity in your BLOG. She will have to have Surgeries all her life just to live another day. She will not have a so called NORMAL life. How I do feel, for those in other COUNTRIES that, have to deal with things, and need help, there are tons that donate and help those other countries. AS far as having people donate to research, CANCER is so over funded, and has more money in it to help that is is a far cry to someone born with CHD. One in 100 children, ( some areas are far worse more like 10 out of 100) are born with some kind of heart normality. Cancer research gets BILLIONS a year in grants, and have pretty much unlimited research at there disposal. No I am not down playing cancer by any means, however, I feel that yes a lot more should go to CHD research. I will say this on top of it all, It really saddens me to hear of a child no matter what disease, has earned there wings. I think that MAKE A WISH is something that comes from something special in peoples hearts and soul’s. Having a child granted something they might not ever be able to do, see, or feel, is a feeling not many will ever experience. Even it if it for a brief moment, words will never describe that feeling. Many families do not have the means to do something like MAKE a WISH can. There are some that can’t but have no clue how to do this, as they are 24/7 365 care takers of there child that might not live to see another day. Your BLOG is not forth right. Until you walk a few million miles in the families, shoes as we have to then you will never comprehend, what and how we feel day to day. I wish that you would have a change of heart, and actually instead of JUDGING be more involved in what is really happening. More children with CHD will never get a Wish Granted, as most do not live to see there 1st birthday, and even more don’t make it to there 2nd. I forgive you for your comments, as GOD will and DID forgive you for your comments. God Bess you Sir.

  19. Liz said

    This article just makes me sick to my stomach….Really????? I have a 4 yr old daughter that has had 4 heart surgeries and a diaphragm surgery due to complications. My daughter, too, will have surgeries for the rest of her life….forever….she will have test after test after test…FOREVER! And as Shawn said the disease is greatly underfunded. But this author is an idiot. MAW is an amazing organization that doesn’t have a mission to find cures or save the hungry or find cures for malaria. They are only interested in allowing a child to have an incredibly awesome wish come true that may not happen otherwise! The child (and family) get to momentarily forget about all the horrible bad things happening to them and have fun! That is it.
    To Michael Dickens: I will keep you in my prayers that nothing bad ever happens to someone in your family that could possibly make them eligible for a wish. And so you know, no child is turned down for a wish that is eligible (and it doesn’t matter if you make $20,000/yr or $200,000/yr). “They didn’t solve any real problems or alleviate any long-term suffering.” The mission isn’t to solve any problems….it is to allow the child to temporarily “forget” about the disease they have. You should really stick to topics that you know at least a little bit about!
    This article is wrong in so many ways…I hope anyone reading will realize that the author has no idea what he is really talking about and is just having a dumb rant about something with 0 knowledge! He has not walked in the shoes of the families that receive a wish! (my daughter will have her wish granted in November!) Sad that some people are like that… :(

    THANK YOU MAKE A WISH FOR ALL THAT YOU HAVE DONE FOR MANY CHILDREN TO MAKE THEM FEEL LIKE THEY ARE “NORMAL” AND TO GIVE FAMILIES THE OPPORTUNITY TO THROW WORRY OUT THE WINDOW FOR A SHORT TIME :)

  20. Adam said

    Lemme say up front that I realize that this is a three year old blog entry, but I was looking for articles on Make a Wish being a bad charity and came across this.

    I appreciate your stance, but ultimately I don’t think it’s healthy to live your life in the way you are describing here. While I’d certainly rather put my money toward curative efforts, the idea of helping out people one at a time is not without merit. If you can only look at it as a mathematical decision of ‘did they help out as many people as they could?’ then you risk running into that in every day life. Did you stop off at Starbucks? Well, why not get a can of Folgers and that way you can save $3 a day which can be put toward cancer research? Have you ever eaten a fancy meal? Why not just eat matzo and beef jerky and donate that $100 toward a food kitchen? It’s Schindler thinking and while it’s good to keep in mind that, yes, if you’d sold this pen you could have saved another life, it’s not good to obsess on it.

    That said, I’m still not sure about Make a Wish, but I do think that a large part of what they do isn’t just for the child. Every child being served by Make a Wish, being taken to Disney World or getting to meet their sports icon or getting to spend a day at their favorite video game company, is a child with a family who knows that in a year they may no longer have their son or daughter or brother or sister. The memory of this child’s one amazing day isn’t just for them. It’s for the family to treasure when their loved one is gone.

    • The point isn’t for me to have a healthy life. Although that’s certainly one of my goals, it’s not a consideration when I choose which charities to donate to. I do try to keep my expenses low, but this hasn’t led to any unhealthiness in my life. Numerous people have written about this issue you raise, including Peter Singer in his book The Life You Can Save.

  21. Jojo said

    This is literally the trolling-est post in the history of troll-dom, It is composed of the most flimsy, fallacious type of logic. Forget the fact that it is morally despicable; it is not even logically consistent. I’m sure you think it’s an edgy, controversial argument to make, but it’s really just a huge tire-fire of fail.
    “I haven’t read it…” LOL. The fact that you’re citing sources based on what lots of people say on the internet is quite telling…

    • What did I say that was logically inconsistent?

      Also, it’s not quite accurate to say that I haven’t read any of The Life You Can Save. I’ve read several chapters, as well as lots of articles by Peter Singer on the same subject as the book. I simply haven’t read the whole book.

  22. Chris said

    Michael, I totally get you. People simply don’t grasp what efficiency and impact are. It’s a mind boggling thing for me too. Look. Make-A-Wish is ULTRA effective. It’s a huge proof of what the placebo effect does. I can go as far as to say that it might have saved a few of those children lives. I also get that those children mean the world to their parents. The problem is that those children don’t mean the world to the world. It’s all a matter of perspective. If you’re a parent of a terminally ill child, nothing else matters in this world, except your child, so anything coming your child’s way is a blessing. What if, on the other hand, you’re someone with 50$ in your pocket to spend for charity?
    Would you go for that very heart warming, emotionally driven, extremely expensive, feel-good tear-jerker wish thing that will probably make a whole family happy and ONE terminally ill (even though the Batman kid we read about yesterday, November 15, 2013, has leukaemia already in remission) child ecstatic and might have a slim chance of bettering its condition, or, perhaps, give it to provide humanitarian aid to the THOUSANDS of people struck by the typhoon in the Philippines? Your 50$ won’t be enough for one child’s wish – your 5000$ won’t either-, but your 50$ on water purification WILL save hundreds. Maybe, if the people of the Philippines seem too far away to care, you can give it NGOs that do cancer research, but I get it. A long term, far away goal seems less important than an instant pleasure. That’s why we suck at investments.
    Imagine it like this (though the numbers are completely fictitious and exaggerated to enhance the dilemma): Every granted wish to make a sick child feel good now, can be a one minute delay for the final cure of cancer in thirty years from now and every minute, 15 people (this is the only real number) die of cancer worldwide. Most people would still go for the wish. A happy smiling child and a tear-jerker of a news story now easily qualifies as more important than the cure of 15 anonymous people of all ages after thirty years (of course, not if one of those fifteen turns out to be you or me). And that’s what efficiency and impact are, people. Make-A-Wish contributes nothing towards the end solution and can be in place for all eternity, without helping towards the end goal (impact), but it can spend loads of money on making one child super-extra happy, instead of making thousands of children just a bit happier (efficiency).
    I’m sorry, but Make-A-Wish, even though heart-warming and well intended, is indeed very misguided as an NGO. I only hope that MAW would use all those wishes for the publicity and use part of the donations for more productive causes. Until now, this is what I thought was going on and I was really surprised that everything goes to wishes and fundraisers. I might not be terminally ill or a child, but my wish towards MAW is that they start granting the “I don’t want to have cancer” wish to future children, rather than the “I want to be Batman for a day” wish to one child today.

  23. Kal Kally said

    The author of this article is very logically consistent in the point of pure logic in a purely perfect world where only physical conditions can be “real problems”.

    MAW is a group with a mission, and the single fact that it still exists prove that there are still people who believe in its mission, and that helping individuals is just as important as helping the many.

    In my country, there is a group that for seven years straight, they have been bringing free meals to poor patients in the nation’s largest cancer hospital. Have they been able to give free meals to every poor patients in that hospital? No, just a part. Have they brought life-changing experiences like MEW? No, even the money a patient saved as he/she received free meals is very small compared to hospital cost. The costs they spent everyday in that seven years if summed up, become a very large amount, and logically, if that money was donated to a medical research center to fund finding cure for cancer, it would be much better. But in my country, what this group gives is not just bringing some cancer patients the feeling that the community still care for them, they inspire hope and belief in a better society. Following their steps, there are people who started to do the same. There are ex-criminals who want to change after they got out of the prison. There are rich kids who once spent money irresponsiblely now focus on helping people. In a society where people become more and more unwilling to sympathize and moral values are being deteriorated, the value of this group’s work should not just be evaluated by things like “money”, “real problems” or the actual number of people that they can help.

    Honestly, I don’t think anyone in the world has the right to question the group’s motives and their belief that by helping individuals, they make the world a better place. After all, there are many ways to make the world a better place, and people who care enough would choose their own ways to participate, the ways that suit their means and their belief, not the view point of anyone who thinks his view point is superior (or more logical, that is). He who gives is the one that has the right to decide what causes are “beneficial” and what is “far better” in his view point, and judge if he “fails” or not.

    I support MEW, as I believe things like hope and love and the feeling of responsibility can spread. I believe that “hope, strength and joy” that MEOW enrich does not limit to only each individual case. I believe that the hope and warmth in the “I want to be Batman for a day” case didn’t just exist for the little boy and his family but also for the thousands of volunteers who came to help and many more who read about that case. That kind of inspiration can have impact on how people live, even if subtle. Just as I have been truly moved and my attitude has changed thanks to the group I mentioned above.

  24. Ashley said

    To be honest, I find this to be a little petty.
    1. I was at my hematologist/oncologist’s office when I read this and I did ask my doctor what he thought about it. He explained that he had seen MAW change so many children’s lives in his years that he 100% backs it. He agreed that of course the money could go towards finding cures, etc. but that $250 million really is not a lot in the span of the 30+ years of research that is needed to maybe even come close to a cure for some cancers and terminal illnesses. He said that making a difference one life at a time is all doctors and people can do and that the inspiration and reenergizing effect that MAW has had on children is worth donating to and is admirable. Sometimes even a change of mindset can save a life and MAW has done that for multiple children. Could it go to mosquito nets and other things? Sure and I do feel for those people. But if the money was being spent there then I’m sure someone would have something to say about how we should be helping our own country and people instead of expending resources elsewhere. Why are these people in other countries more important then the children in ours? Because ours are dying? 1. Not all of these kids die, some pull through and 2. If that’s what you believe youre a despicable person who has obviously never seen the sickness and lack of light in the eyes of someone suffering through Stage IV cancer or how the smallest (or biggest) things can change their day or remainder of their lives. Yes those people are dying, so are these children. There are organizations out there that ARE doing work in multiple other countries, helping them. And you have to pick on this one for helping ours? To be honest, I’m disgusted. Have you ever seen a pediatric cancer ward? Have you ever spent time with those children? Why don’t you try it then tell me you wouldn’t want to brighten their day in anyway you could.

  25. redacted said

    I have 1 kidney, I always have and always will. I’m 13 years old and last year my best friend had a kidney transplant. I must say I was a bit jealous, as he really played it up and got a double standard in the way people treated him, while I never made a big deal of it. He’s completely, absolutely better now, similar circumstances to me except he takes anti rejection drugs. His family are completely 47% moochers and they got MAW to pay for an extended vacation to New Zealand (for a big family), which costs an enormous amount of money that could be better put to use helping children in need. The reason he wants to go there: so he can say he watched the Hobbit (set in NZ?) In NZ. I just cannot justify this, that’s like tens of thousands of dollars down the drain so a spoiled white American kid can see the hobbit. Sure, it will make a positive impact on his life but it could make a much bigger one on many children in developing nations if it was used for mosquito nets vaccines ect. And I believe that’s what the author was getting at.

    • redacted said

      I would also like to add 2 things: the first is that this is not an impoverished kid in an impoverished town, the average listing price in our town is well over 1.5 mil. As opposed to people living off a dollar a day who can’t actually afford treatment.
      The second is that this is not a terminally I’ll kid, this is not a dying kid, going to NZ will not save his life, he’s just, as he’d probably say, “goin for a vaca” because he, for some reason, feels entitled. I feel like MAW is deceiving people into thinking these are terminally ill kids but at least in his case, they’re not.

  26. Mark said

    Cure AIDS or send a kid or a cruise. ‘Nuf said..

  27. Glen Benton said

    MAKE A WISH IS CRAP!

  28. Ali said

    It makes me angry that Make a Wish won’t grant young adults wishes. Many individuals are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease when they are 20-30 years old. I think individuals that are 22, 24, etc. that get diagnosed with something as horrible as MS should be eligible for something as well. However most adult wish groups are only for the elderly or those very near death. They also could be better spending their money and buy necessary disability equipment for those that can’t afford it.

  29. Alison said

    This article is just so Grinch-y. Do YOU take vacations? Do YOU go out to do pleasurable activities? Do YOU do things that give you short-term happiness? Well, I bet you do! It’s how every single person on this planet gets by day-to-day. You see, Make A Wish is just trying to help people do things that they dream of and cannot accomplish without help. Yes, it does seem that each wish is costly, but these children have barriers to their dreams. Perhaps they are in a crazy special wheelchair that would require a special transportation vehicle, or require a nurse to accompany them everywhere they go, etc. If you don’t want to donate to this charity or support it, then don’t. It hurts my heart that people do not fully believe in the benefit of non-medical healing and happiness beyond a medical cure.

    My concern with shelling out tons of money to health research is that you never ever know exactly where your money is going. You are not single handedly going to cure AIDs, cancer, etc. I have and will continue to donate to health research, but sometimes people want to help out in a way they can actually see their donation did something special for someone. Also, kids are so damn smart and insightful that sometimes they KNOW they will not live past a certain age and they accept that. Make a Wish might help them to enjoy the remaining days. I feel like the fact that you felt it necessary to write this article in the way you did, is worse than anything Make a Wish could do for a child.

    In the world we live in today, it is not necessary to only place emphasis on one disaster, on one country’s condition. Yes, that donated money could go to a third world country or even to a homeless shelter in your area. So could the money you just spent on new shoes. But no one can live that way! You can live the way you want and give the way you want. It is not a requirement to choose whether cancer is better/worse than poverty, or deserves more of your attention. You can grieve and have sympathy and empathy for anyone or anything no matter of geographical location or media coverage.

  30. Princess said

    While you make some valid points, you fail to show show that Make-A-Wish I’d truly a bad thing. You have clearly never seen the joy getting a wish granted brings a child who may be dying. Yes, money could technically be donated to other things, but sometimes people specifically want to donate to something like Make-A-Wish, if they wanted to donate to something else they would. They may not even donate if Make-A-Wish isn’t an option. Additionally, you are against them because you consider it a ” waste of money”. Money is spent on many frivolous things. Im sure you own several unnecessary things. Wishes are not frivolous, so unless u support only buying necessities, I suggest you find something else to pick on.

  31. Stella said

    I am about to make donations to Make-A-Wish Foundation, and I wanted to search the internet one more time to see if there was any reason why I should’t make that donation. If the poor allocation of resources is the best criticism that the internet can make, that’s pretty good! I agree that it may seem like it’s not the best allocation of resources from the societal point of view, but being a scientist with a PhD and with her own lab, I also know that the scientists don’t make the best use of the resources either. Depending on what you work on, a botched experiment can cost millions of dollars. Many experiments aren’t directly applicable to making the human lives better (we are under pressure to publish, after all!)

    At least Make-A-Wish makes one family very happy for one day (and I think that the children will remember that special day for the rest of their lives). Does a typical scientific experiment (that could cost way more than 7k) make anyone happy for one day? I am not so sure.

  32. cmj said

    My daughter’s wish was recently granted and we were on the phone today with a rep from MAW about the final arrangements. When we took her to their headquarters to make it official a few months ago, we were taken on a tour and told about how the idea for the foundation was started out of the efforts if two men to give the terminally ill son of friends his ‘wish’ to “catch bad guys”. So he got to be an honorary police officer for a day. The boy died shortly after and many people heard about what they did for him and started taking up a collections to grant ‘wishes’ for other kids, and this is what the organization is all about. There are organizations to fund research and organizations to fund education, so why can’t there be organizations to give a little happiness in the midst of difficulty even if it’s only for a moment? I’ll admit that I’m the kind of person who has trouble with accepting ‘something for nothing’ and that’s why I’ve been looking up background info online, but after reading some of the responses here, and yours, I realize now that this is about my daughter, not me. A ‘wish’ won’t take away what she’s dealing with physically and mentally, and she’s never going to forget it just because she had a ‘wish’ granted, and it’s not going to ‘spoil’ her in some way, but can’t she have a little bit of happiness, even if for one afternoon, just because MAW makes this available to her and that’s what they’re in the business of doing? Can’t people pick and choose who they want to donate their money to? Does it have to be more complicated than that?

  33. Most of the comments on this post give me the impression that parents of kids who received wishes from MAW are just trolling the Internet for people who criticize MAW so they can pick fights with them. I don’t know how else to explain the 20+ comments from parents of MAW kids on a post with only a few thousand views.

    • R.Wulfe said

      Funnily, I came across this looking for criticism of Make-a-Wish as I tend to donate towards on-going medical research such as with Muscular Dystrophy Charities, British Heart Foundation, and Doctors without Borders (and a few others when and if I can) and I’ve done the same task of looking for why I shouldn’t. I live in a city with multiple research teams looking into Alzheimer’s disease and making breakthroughs, I’d have loved for my grandparent to have remembered me, herself or anything during her final years alive. It does put one group’s happiness above another (and I do come across as bitter) but a parallel, is saying you don’t support Make-a-Wish or similar charity makes you out to be a villian that hates happy children, but you could say you don’t support Amnesty International and no one bats an eyelid as they’re usually doing fund raisers in the city’s square despite their aim is to end or alleviate conflict internationally. It’s as if it’s easier for people to relate to a children terminally ill in a hospital bed, than one either conscripted involuntarily for military service or has bombs dropping on their roof. Trying to make an ethical decision regarding this shouldn’t feel like a zero-sum game, but with finite resources and gnawing feeling at the back of one’s mind we could always ask ‘Could we have done better?’

      I’ve studied chemistry and have worked as a lab technician. Scientist’s can likewise be inefficient with resources, and it’s a time-staking process but we tend to yield more results that make a lot of people happy across the board. Last research project I saw, was my Adviser testing to a cheaper, more affordable HPLC Machine (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) that could be used in Africa to test the water supply for environmental pollution, this will save lives and help plan logistics on where water needs to be made cleaner.

  34. Heidi said

    I get where you were going with this, however, you seem to be too focused on a specific cause–people may think more highly of one particular cause than another, and I don’t think you can say one is better than the other.
    Also, I understand that it is only temporary joy, but a lot of these kids won’t live to see their cure, and isn’t their happiness, no matter how small, better than them not having any hope/joy?
    I dunno, just my opinion.

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