A child is diagnosed with a critical illness every 20 minutes. Make-A-Wish is currently able to grant only one out of every two eligible children’s wish. Wishes have proven physical and emotional benefits that can give these children a stronger sense of optimism, motivation to comply with their medical treatment and joy when they need it most. It is therefore our vision to grant the wish of every eligible child — but we can only do so with your help.
Here are three ways you can help us transform lives, one with at a time — and the first might actually surprise you.
1. Engage with your unique online community.
You can raise money for wish kids by starting an online fundraiser
as a captain of a group in your neighborhood or school, join an existing fundraiser or fundraise on your own in honor of a special occasion.
Or you can take the route of Michael Wilkof and Ryan Wright by cultivating your talents and hobbies into an opportunity to give back. The two friends met via the online streaming platform Twitch, which only airs live videos. Wright is a well-known Twitch streamer who airs his own live gaming videos. According to Wilkof, Twitch is an interactive site where video gamers come to learn from others.
Wilkof and Wright had witnessed the remarkable generosity that existed within the Twitch community through other charity streams. So just a bit more than a year ago, they decided to host their very own to benefit Make-A-Wish. “We’ve both had interactions with people who have gone through the wish process and we’ve seen the effect that it has had on families and communities as well. We’re both strong believers in that system,” Wright said.
Wright was able to recruit a strong network of streamers to participate while Wilkof managed behind-the-scenes tasks. Each stream included a donation link for viewers to easily access. Some streamers even encouraged donations by promising unexpected moves during their play if they received higher contributions.
Their first stream raised about $11,000 in 12 hours. That was enough to make Wilkof, left, and Wright decide to host another charity stream shortly thereafter. They raised another $16,000 for Make-A-Wish.
Their third and latest charity stream included an even more robust group of gamers who aired during their most successful time slots. That 30-hour event raised an additional $33,000 for Make-A-Wish. “That doubled what we did before, which was really exciting,” Wilkof said.
The average cost of a wish is about $10,000. I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A ONE-TIME DONATION
Both Wright and Wilkof said they were surprised by the overwhelming support in that third stream. “It was really astonishing to see how many people donated … and to see how many people had had an interaction with Make-A-Wish,” Wright said. “Many people have seen the impact of a wish in some way, shape or form. I didn’t expect this many people to have had those interactions.”
During the streams, Wilkof and Wright were able to share stories about the impact of wishes on children and their families. The story of 13-year-old James’ wish to go to Hobbiton, New Zealand, where “Lord of the Rings” was filmed, was particularly instrumental in inspiring viewers to donate (above). James says he most identifies with the book's character Bilbo, because Bilbo had to be away from his home for a long period of time. James has felt similarly during his long stays in the hospital. He and his siblings bonded over "Lord of the Rings" and related the characters and the trials and tribulations they encountered during James' battle against leukemia. “It was really cool to see people’s responses to [these stories],” Wright said. James' wish was granted by Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
If you’re interested in hosting a live Twitch charity stream to benefit Make-A-Wish, Wright’s top tip is to submit a request to be featured on Twitch’s home page. “When that happens, you can have 10 times the viewers that you would normally have,” he said. “It was neat just to see how many people were touched by Make-A-Wish across the States. They’ve had heavily positive interactions. Everyone was familiar with it.”
2. Promote team bonding at work. Workplace giving programs help provide employees with a simple way to donate to Make-A-Wish. Employees can contribute money through payroll deductions or participate in internal fundraising events. Workplace giving is also a great way to engage your employees in the rewarding experience of giving back to the community. LEARN MORE
3. Volunteer your talents and knowledge. Make-A-Wish needs more support than monetary donations. Our need for volunteers varies by chapter, but opportunities can be found in every state across the country. They may include being a wish granter, office worker, translator, fundraiser, speaker or event staff member. Make-A-Wish trains wish volunteers to help children identify their most heartfelt wish, and then bring the experience to life. Visit your local chapter’s website to learn more about its volunteer needs. FIND MY LOCAL CHAPTER
It’s never too late to join a caring community of people who improve the lives of children battling critical illnesses. Looking for more ways to give back to Make-A-Wish? CLICK HERE