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.