New study reveals the impact of a wish on seriously ill children
News release and photo for immediate use
Wednesday 5 December 2012
A new study has found that a third of parents whose children receive a wish through Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK, the charity that grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting a life-threatening condition, see an improvement in their child’s physical health after their wish has been granted.
The study, which is the first of its kind to have been carried out in the UK, also revealed that a third see an improvement in their mobility, a quarter experience reduced suffering from their symptoms and over half cope better with their illness and have greater energy and vitality.
47 year old Geraldine Graham, from Northern Ireland, whose daughter Natasha has Cerebral Palsy, said: “We were told that Natasha was blind but after getting her sensory equipment we noticed that she was responding to the lights and colours. The sensory equipment has really made such a big difference – her eyes light up at the fibre optics and when she’s unsettled we just put her on the waterbed and it calms her.”
Larissa Kerecuk, Consultant Paediatric Nephrologist at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, agrees that the wish experience really makes a difference: “I genuinely believe that the psychological impact has such a major part to play in illness and Make-A-Wish really helps in ways medicine can’t. After one of my patients, Jack, returned from his wish to swim with dolphins I wrote to thank Make-A-Wish because I hadn’t seen him that well in a very long time.”
Wishes have also been found to bring families closer together (78%) and give them a greater sense of normal family life (68%).
However, the biggest impact felt by parents was on their child’s attitude and outlook on life, with 77% stating that the wish experience helped their child through a very difficult time, making them feel more positive and hopeful (68%) and bringing relief from the endless rounds of clinic appointments and invasive treatments (67%).
Neil Jones, Chief Executive at Make-A-Wish, said: “We often speak to parents who tell us just how important the wish experience was but we felt that it was important to gain a better understanding of what this meant, exactly. We hope that this research will demonstrate just how extraordinary Make-A-Wish is.”
There are currently 20,000 children and young people in the UK fighting a life-threatening condition and this year alone 1,400 children will turn to Make-A-Wish to have their wish granted. The charity needs to raise £6.8 million in 2012 and receives no government funding or lottery grants – so every donation really does count.
To make a donation to Make-A-Wish please visit www.make-a-wish.org.uk or telephone 01276 40 50 60.
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For more information about this news release please contact:
Hayley Epps: T: 01276 405093 M: 07557563214 E:
Notes to editors:
1. The purpose of the survey was to find out the benefits of a wish experience and to monitor the satisfaction of Make-A-Wish services
2. The study looked at seven key areas over 18 questions – the people who refer a child to Make-A-Wish and the wishes received, child’s sense of well-being and health, child’s emotions and social behaviours, child’s attitudes and outlook on life, effect on brother and sisters, and other family or household members, satisfaction with Make-A-Wish services
3. The audience consisted of families who received wishes in 2011
4. The sample size was 818 and a response rate of 52% was achieved via a self-completion survey
5. Case studies are available for interview subject to availability
6. Please note that Make-A-Wish does not use phrases such as ‘terminally ill’ in order to respect the sensitive nature of life-threatening conditions and what they mean to children and young people and their families. We would ask that this approach is followed and that the term ‘life-threatening conditions’ is used in material for publication.
7. Make-A-Wish should be referred to as Make-A-Wish Foundation® UK in the first instance. Thereafter ‘Make-A-Wish’ or ‘Make-A-Wish Foundation’ is suitable. We would ask that you try to keep ‘Make-A-Wish’ on the same line.
8. Make-A-Wish grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions. The charity was founded in the UK in 1986. Registered charity number: 295672/SC037479 www.make-a-wish.org.uk.