What we do
Together, we create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.
Whether it's starring in their own films, walking with dinosaurs, going on an amazing holiday, meeting a celebrity hero, or having a bedroom makeover; our wishes are varied, personal and life-changing. We go above and beyond to grant amazing wishes to very amazing children; their One True Wish made a reality at a time when they need it most. Because a child's life shouldn't be about illness, hospitals and diagnosis - it should be about wonder, joy and hope.
We've seen the effects a wish can have on a seriously ill child: from creating incredible memories, building confidence and bringing happiness, to providing respite from the daily struggles that come with a critical illness. We know what wishes can give, and this is the driving force behind why we continue to do what we do.
But we can't make these life-changing experiences happen without the generosity of people like you. See how you can help
Our story started in 1986. Inspired by the story of Chris Greicius, a young boy fighting leukaemia in the US, Make-A-Wish UK was formed to grant life-changing wishes to children with critical illnesses in the UK. We worked from offices above a shop in the town of Camberley, Surrey, and relied on the generous support of local volunteers to help us grant wishes. We granted four wishes in our first year. The very first wish was granted to Anthony from Liverpool, who went on a magical trip with his family to meet the Disney characters in Disney World Florida.
As word spread about our work, more and more people began coming forward to volunteer their time. In our second year, we granted 13 wishes. We took on our first full-time member of staff in 1989. And by the end of our fourth year, with the support of a growing team of passionate volunteers, we'd granted 100 magical wishes.
Our volunteers would spend nearly every weekend out and about across the country – giving presentations, accepting cheques, and spreading the word about Make-A-Wish. And as more families turned to us, we began setting up regional offices and taking on even more volunteers so we could keep granting wishes. There was never a dull moment.
Volunteers are still at the heart of our organisation – their kind support has helped us grant more than 12,000 life-changing wishes to date. But we need your help to keep granting more. Find out how you can become a volunteer or other ways you can support us, or read about some of the wishes we've granted.