Doctors explain the importance of a wish
The Referral Process
The referral process is the first step in a child’s wish. A wish can provide a magical and empowering interlude in a terrible and frightening time. Children are energized by a wish … by imagining it, describing it, planning and anticipating it. Families tell us that a wish can encourage a child to see a future to fight for and then to fight on, often against tremendous odds, when courage and hope are flagging.
Each wish-granting situation is a unique experience for the child, their family and Make-A-Wish BC & Yukon. However, there is a general process by which a child is referred, qualified and granted a wish.
Out of respect for the children and families we serve and out of concern for their privacy, children who may be eligible to receive a wish may be referred by one of three sources:
- Medical professionals treating the child such as doctors, nurses, social workers, or child-life specialists
- A parent or legal guardian of the potential wish child
- The potential wish child themselves
If a relative or friend makes the initial referral, our process is somewhat different. We do not wish to intrude on a family’s privacy and want them to feel comfortable with the process. We ask friends and relatives to speak to the family and encourage them to call us directly.
We require authorization from the child’s doctor and our medical advisor that:
- the child has a life-threatening medical condition which will threaten their existence prior to their 18th year.
- the child is between the ages of 3 and 17 years of age.
- the child has the cognitive ability of a 3 year old and can communicate and comprehend their wish.
Any child aged 3 through and including, 17-years-old with a life-threatening medical condition may be eligible for a wish. The child must be able to identify a wish and cannot have received a prior wish from any wish-granting organization. The child’s treating physician and our Medical Advisor make the final determination as to whether the child is medically eligible and able to participate in the wish.
Referring a child can be a difficult step for some parents to take. It is so important to understand two things:
- Qualification for a wish does not mean that all hope is gone. We grant life-affirming wishes rather than last wishes.
- Qualification for a wish is not based on a family’s financial situation. We know that a catastrophic illness puts a ‘fantasy wish’ beyond the reach of almost every household–whether from financial or emotional devastation. Rich or poor, we believe that every child with a life-threatening medical condition is deserving of a heartfelt wish.
Refer a Child Now