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(don’t) make a wish

Recently, I submitted an email inquiry to my state chapter of the Make A Wish Foundation. I greatly admire its work, but had never considered the possibility that Madeline might actually be eligible to receive a Wish. After a conversation with a friend, though, I began to dig around for some information. When I visited the foundation’s website, I read that for a child to be eligible, she must be “diagnosed with a life-threatening condition, i.e., a progressive, degenerative or malignant condition that is placing the child’s life in jeopardy.

Never before has Madeline’s T1D diagnosis made me feel giddy, even excited, for her. Isn’t it obvious? T1D is progressive (with under- and over-treatment), degenerative (even under the most thorough management), and—though we try not to dwell on it–life-threatening. I thought that if I decided to apply, her eligibility for a Wish should be a slam-dunk.

Except that it wasn’t. The reply I received indicated that T1D did not meet the eligibility standards of the Make A Wish Foundation.

I’ve sat with my disbelief and disappointment for a few months. Now it’s time for action. I’m not sure how, exactly, though I’m positive I’ll be writing something to someone as my form of advocacy. Even if it doesn’t make a difference for Madeline, I can’t really tolerate the idea of such a prominent organization, whose work can be so transformative for its beneficiaries, operating under the misguided notion that T1D isn’t a qualifying medical condition for a Wish.



About Heather Garcia Queen

I am… a mother of 3 spectacular children. A wife of an architect extraordinaire. An MSW. A psychologist in an elementary school. A (wishful) writer. A protector of family and spirit. A worshipper of the natural world. A seeker of knowledge. A lover of the arts. An introvert. A silver-lining kind of girl.


7 thoughts on “(don’t) make a wish

  1. I have considered pursuing something similar for my t1 daughter, but my husband feels like it’s “abusing” the system because she’s not dying. However, I just wanted to reach out and let you know that MAW is not the only organization out there that grants wishes. There are several different organizations that do similar things and some that are even for specific conditions or wish requests.

    Posted by type1dmom | 08/19/2013, 3:00 pm
  2. I too wrote to them and was shocked when they said T1 did not fit the description of “life threatening” I even sent documentation stating that in fact it did. It is disappointing as our children and families go through so much too and there are many expenses and sacrifices that are made because of it. I would love to know other organizations that you recommend or have had positive feedback from. We would love a D.A,D but definitely can’t afford the costs or even just to have help with that was what we were wanting for extra safety for my child. Thanks for posting!

    Posted by Joanna | 08/19/2013, 3:15 pm
  3. I also contacted the Make A Wish foundation for my T1 daughter. She was turned down as well. The impression I got was that because she wasn’t “terminal” she didn’t qualify.

    Posted by Jerri Warburton | 08/19/2013, 3:27 pm
    • What I think is interesting is that a terminal condition seems to be implied, but is not stated clearly, and I know they help kids whose conditions could result in death but who are not actively dying. For me this is about clarification, and advocacy. If the foundation seeks to assist children with severe health conditions– which I believe is its intent–then kids with T1 should be considered.

      Posted by Heather Garcia Queen | 08/19/2013, 3:48 pm
  4. I know of someone who has recently been granted a wish, she had a brain tumor that was removed and she is in a wheelchair as a result with therapy and a lower quality of life than before. I totally support that wish, and I don’t see how our situation is much different. Thanks for the post- I think it’s important to spread awareness of exactly what they deal with!

    Posted by Marie | 08/19/2013, 4:51 pm
  5. I support make a wish but there should be something similar for our kids. It is a daily battle for us to keep them alive. I am thankful for Insulin, but it still hurts to see them suffer.

    Posted by Barb | 08/20/2013, 2:05 am

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This work by Heather Garcia Queen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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