Impact of a wish

The granting of a seriously ill child’s most heartfelt wish has a real impact on their medical progress and well-being, but also on family relationships and relations with those around them. A wish is thus a real therapeutic tool. At the initiative of Make-A-Wish and in order to demonstrate the relevance of its mission, various studies have been conducted in different countries.


In the United States, a study conducted in 2010 had already defined the impact of wishes on children and their families. This research provided quantitative measures of the breadth and depth of the impact of the Make-A-Wish mission. Previously, the impact of a wish had been confirmed primarily by one-time testimonials from families and physicians. Later, real scientific studies were able to reinforce the hypotheses. The impact of the wish is not limited to the immediate emotional effects on the children, but also greatly improves the quality of life of the children and their families, promoting resilience and increasing their well-being.


In 2022, this research was expanded to include a much larger population of Make-A-Wish children and parents, in addition to health care professionals. Today, an overwhelming majority of former Make-A-Wish children, parents, and medical providers agree that the experience of a wish contributes in fundamental ways to physical, mental, and emotional health:


  • A wish is an important part of medical treatment because it improves the chances of survival, provides needed support to get through the ordeal, and gives the child a better chance to recover psychologically from the serious illness.
  • A wish brings more hope, strength, joy, confidence, self-esteem, quality of life and well-being to a child whose health is affected.
  • A wish can correspond to a stage of treatment or can celebrate the success of treatment.
  • A wish brings family members together and strengthens relationships with loved ones.
  • A wish helps to overcome traumatic stress, despair, depression and loneliness.


This recent study was conducted online between October and November 2021 among 3,369 children and adults over the age of 18, including 348 former recipients and 3,021 parents of recipients. Respondents were representative of wishes made between 2009 and 2019. In addition, a supplemental survey of 42 health care professionals was conducted.

“The great joy before and after, the letting go and the excitement during the granting of the wish, together with the newfound laughter act favourably on the various functions of the body, including the immune system, the blood circulation, the digestive system and respiratory passages.

My work and my experience as a pediatrician prove to me that traditional medicine benefits greatly from the power of a wish. The great advantage of ‘this extremely effective medicine’ is that it has no side effects.”

Prof. Dr. med . Emeritus Urs B. Schaad, former chief pediatrician and director of the Universitäts-Kinderspital beider Basel

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