YOU Can Help Make Wishes Come True – Donate Air Miles in April to Make-A-Wish

During spring break, I took a group of college students to Kissimmee, Florida to volunteer at Give Kids The World Village (GKTW); perhaps you followed along on our LIVE Blog.  You may remember that GKTW is the resort where children with life-threatening illnesses stay when they have a wish to play football with Mickey Mouse, ride a broom above Hogwarts Castle, wrestle an alligator, kiss a dolphin, or meet an astronaut.  Any wish that’s possibly related to Central Florida, wish-granting organizations – like the Make-A-Wish Foundation – arrange to get the family to Florida, and then GKTW takes over.  My students and I saw first hand the impact this week at GKTW has on the wish families, and Make-A-Wish says 97% of adult former wish kids report improved mental and emotional health because of their wish experiences.  Would you like to help?  For wish families, airline miles are as helpful as cash.  Continue reading for how you can donate airline miles in April to Make-A-Wish and help bring a little happiness to kids and families just like the ones we saw enjoying GKTW.

Wish Kid Emily

Image courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation

During our week volunteering at GKTW, we were able to see many wishes come true – wishes like those of Emily (pictured above) who wanted to be a princess, dance with a prince, and visit Walt Disney World – miles and miles away from the pricks and pokes obtained during hospital visits.  Emily’s grandmother said, the week spent at Disney and Give Kids The World was one they desperately needed, and allowed the family to reclaim a part of their life before Emily’s diagnosis.

Of course, it takes resources to make wishes like Emily’s come true.  In only one year, there will be 10,000 wishes that involve travel, 75% of all wishes.  Make-A-Wish estimates they need 50,000 round trip airline tickets, the equivalent of 2.5 billion air miles, to fulfill one year’s worth of wishes.

Wishes in Flight Program

That’s why Make-A-Wish is encouraging the donation of airline miles throughout the month of April, as part of their Wishes in Flight program, to help gear up for the busiest wish granting season.  Individuals who fly on Delta, United, or US Airways can easily donate frequent flier miles, in just a few easy steps, by visiting wish.org/miles.  The number of miles an individual can donate can range from a few thousand miles to millions (check with the specific airline for minimum donations).  The donated miles never expire and are never used for anything other than wish travel.

“With nearly 75% of wishes involving travel, our need for airline miles is critical,” said David Williams, president and chief executive officer for Make-A-Wish America.  “Donating airline miles provides an alternative way for supporters of Make-A-Wish to help grant wishes without ever opening their wallets.”

Some estimates show there are more than 16 trillion frequent flier miles that go unused each year and some 25 percent of people let their miles expire or at the last minute use miles for magazine subscriptions or a one-time upgrade.  In contrast, the impact of a wish can last a lifetime.  Medical professionals say wish experiences can improve children’s state of mind, make them more willing to comply with treatment requirements, and can even improve their physical health.  Former wish kids say their wish experience improved their health and strength, gave them more confidence and the will to pursue more challenging life goals, made them more philanthropic and compassionate, and even helped save their life.

Give Kids The World Chapel

Of course Make-A-Wish accepts donation of airline miles year-round through Wishes in Flight.  But, if you donate air miles in April to Make-A-Wish, you help during a critical time as travel arrangements are made for summer wish travel.  To learn more about the inspiring wishes Make-A-Wish grants visit wish.org or to donate miles, visit wish.org/miles.

Your gift of miles provides so much more than simply a flight.  Your gift provides a week of respite from worry and uncertainty.  Your gift provides a week of joy and laughter and enjoying being a family together.  Most importantly, your gift provides strength and hope.

SUNY Geneseo GKTW Alternative Break Group 2014

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About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.