Children’s charity appeals for public support as recession bites

Make-A-Wish Foundation launches first nationwide campaign as demand grows

Make-a-Wish Foundation chief executive Susan O’Dwyer: “We have 250 wishes on our waiting list and we cannot meet the demand”

Make-a-Wish Foundation chief executive Susan O’Dwyer: “We have 250 wishes on our waiting list and we cannot meet the demand”

 

The Make-A-Wish Foundation is conducting its first ever nationwide fundraising initiative tomorrow.

The charity – which grants wishes to children aged between 3 and 17 who are living with life threatening medical conditions – is seeking to increase the number of wishes its grants annually by 60 per cent this year.

Some 129 wishes were granted last year and the target for this year is to grant 210 wishes.

Make-A-Wish Foundation chief executive Susan O’Dwyer said that the charity has become unable to cope with demand since recession took hold.

“With the economic downturn, we are getting more and more applications. We have 250 wishes on our waiting list and we cannot meet the demand. We get about 170 applications per year and we are able to grant about 120.

“In the past, there were families who were able to do something for their child themselves but the downturn is hitting everybody so people are able to do less and so demand increases for us.

“The magic of Make-A-Wish is that it’s not just the child who is included but the entire family. Everybody is able to forget the hospital, the treatment, the injections, and the illness – even if it’s only for two or three days.

“It creates memories because unfortunately sometimes the child does pass away. Some of the children are what we would call ‘rush wishes’ where the life expectancy is under nine months.

“It could be to have a party with friends because unfortunately some of these children may not have seen very many their friends in a long time since they are in and out of hospital so often.

“We rely solely on private donations because we receive no Government funding. So every euro counts and is very much appreciated,” she added.

The fundraising initiative involves the sale of wrist bands in shopping centres and on the streets of the country at a cost of €2 each. People can also donate on the charity’s website at www.makeawish.ie.