Make-A-Wish Chicago: Hope & Healing for Over 40 Years

A happy boy smiles in dad's arms with mom and grandma laughing around him in a park Make A Wish Chicago

As a cancer survivor, I know firsthand the trauma, emotional exhaustion, and heartache that comes with battling a critical illness. I also know how things like faith, positivity, and hope allowed me to persevere and see light in the darkness. Even when I was questioning it most. Make-A-Wish knows the power of hope and positivity. They’ve been making magic happen for over 40 years. While you may be familiar with their general mission, getting to know the organization a little more in-depth may just inspire you to become a part of the magic. Or maybe you know a child in your life who could use a little light and hope in a dark time. Here’s a little more info on Make-A-Wish in Chicago and some ways that you can get involved!

About Make-A-Wish Chicago

200 W. Monroe Street, Suite 1801, Chicago, IL 60606

Make-A-Wish began with a single wish. Christopher James Greicius was a sweet 7-year-old boy living in Phoenix and battling leukemia. He wished to be a police officer. In 1980, his local community came together, building him an experience that let him live the life of an officer—sparking a remarkable movement that would transform millions of lives. 

Today, Make-A-Wish is headquartered in Phoenix. Though there are over 59 chapters of the organization spread throughout the country, such as Chicago. Each has their own board of directors, staff, and volunteers. It has also become an international organization, granting wishes in nearly 50 countries outside of the United States. In the 43 years of its existence, Make-A-Wish has granted hundreds of thousands of wishes.

A young boy laughs while walking through a park path in a blue sweater and green glasses


As incredible as a granted wish is, it’s so much more than an opportunity to make memories and bring laughter to a child with a critical illness. Research shows that “children who have wishes granted can build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight a critical illness.” Not only does a granted wish provide much-needed relief from the stress and trauma caused by fighting a critical illness, but the rejuvenating experience actually gives a child a better chance of surviving and thriving. Make-A-Wish Chicago proves evert day that a wish is a genuine tool for the recovery of a child. 

The power of hope is a remarkable thing. It gives children the life-changing joy that nurtures emotional well-being and the motivation to persevere through life’s most daunting challenges. Plus, a wish doesn’t just impact the Wish Kid. It impacts their families, communities, medical professionals, chapter volunteers, and so many more. 

Kids eligible to make a wish have “been diagnosed with a critical illness, i.e., a progressive, degenerative, or malignant condition that is placing the child’s life in jeopardy.” They’re also between the ages of two and a half years old and 18 years old. They need to be referred by a parent, a close family member, or a medical professional – or they can refer themselves! Wishes are only limited by imagination; whether the Wish Kid dreams of being a superhero, taking a trip to Disney World, or scuba diving a coral reef, the Make-A-Wish Chicago Foundation is dedicated to bringing every unique wish to life. 

A young boy sits in dad's arm while grandma tickles and plays with him in a park Make A Wish Chicago


Make-A-Wish Chicago operates on the kindness and generosity of many communities around the world. If you are lucky enough to have healthy children but are still moved to contribute to this incredible foundation, there are plenty of ways to get involved! Donations are always accepted and are an easy way to contribute if you have a full or complicated schedule. The Illinois Chapter also hosts a variety of fundraising events, like the mid-January Penguin Plunge and the glamorous Wish Ball. 

You can also volunteer your time as a contribution. Whether it’s picking up a Wish family at the airport, delivering gifts, or working as a translator, the gift of your time is a huge part of what brings magical wishes to life. Visit the Make-A-Wish Illinois Chapter’s website to learn all about how you can get involved. Then, make a difference in our local Make-A-Wish community!

Make A Wish Chicago

Make-A-Wish Chicago is an extraordinary foundation that is truly brightening the lives of children whose childhoods – let alone their lives – are being threatened by the unthinkable. Give thanks to God for those who are healthy in your life. Then, help transform the lives of those who may need some extra magic. I promise – it truly makes a difference.

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