It’s a celebration more than 30 years in the making: in 1980, a 7-year-old boy received his heartfelt wish to be a police officer for a day. That one wish inspired the founding of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and launched the wish granting movement that circles the globe today. Beginning April 1 and culminating in World Wish Day on April 29, Make-A-Wish will mark the special event with a nationwide campaign to raise dollars and airline miles to fund airline tickets for wishes that involve travel.
Each year, Make-A-Wish grants nearly 14,000 life-changing wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. These wish experiences can be pivot points in the course of a child’s treatment, making them feel better and in some cases, even helping them get better. A wish-come-true strengthens families, provides moments of happiness and inspiration, and helps create strong community bonds.
Nearly 75 percent of wishes require air travel, making it a critical – and costly – resource. In fact, approximately 50,000 airline tickets, the equivalent of 2.5 billion airlines miles or $37.5 million, are needed each year to get wish kids and their families to and from these incredible experiences.
During the month of April, supporters can visit wish.org/tickets to donate dollars or frequent flier miles in just a few easy steps. As an added incentive, WWE Superstar John Cena will personally match every frequent flier mile donated in April, up to 4.5 million. WWE will also leverage its wide array of assets – TV, digital, social media and live events – to help to promote World Wish Day to its 143 million social media fans and 13 million weekly viewers in the United States. United Airlines will also support World Wish Day by matching the donations of its MileagePlus members, up to 3 million miles, through April 30.
Several other Make-A-Wish sponsors are coordinating special World Wish Day promotions, including Maggiano’s Little Italy, Marquis, Brooks Brothers, and Dave & Buster’s. The month will culminate with the announcement of a new, national sponsor.
“The creativity of our wish kids and wish granters means air travel has become a critical part of getting wish kids and their families to wish experiences throughout the world,” said David Williams, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America. “Donating airline miles or dollars will allow us to continue creating thousands of lasting moments for children with life-threatening medical conditions.”