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Frequently Asked Questions


What's the most unusual wish you've ever done? 

There have been several - we've sent a child to visit "where eagles live," had a child experience a landing and take-off from the deck of an aircraft carrier, granted a request for a dinosaur statue, made it possible for a child to be a football player for a day and finally, made a little boy into a superhero.

Doesn't Make-A-Wish just send kids to Walt Disney World®?

No, Disney wishes are just 56% of all the wishes we do. Other popular requests include computers, shopping sprees, trips to Hawaii, celebrity meetings and swimming pools.

What if the child becomes sick again? Can they have another wish? 

No, every eligible child may have one wish from Make-A-Wish. In addition, if a child has received a wish from another wish granting organization, they are ineligible to receive a wish from Make-A-Wish.

Does “critical” mean “terminal?”
No. A critical illness is not necessarily a terminal illness. Many of our wish children go on to lead healthy lives, remembering fondly the wish that in many cases was an integral part of their healing process.

How much does it cost a family to have a wish granted?
Nothing. There is no cost to the family, we take care of everything.

What can a child wish for?
We like to say that a wish is only limited by a child’s imagination; however, some restrictions do apply to protect the safety of the child.

How old does a child have to be to have a wish granted?
The child must be older than 2½ and younger than 18 at the time they are referred to Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee to have a wish granted.

Can the child’s family participate in the wish?
Yes, the wish experience extends to the entire, immediate family living in the home, knowing that parents and siblings want to share in the magic too.

What are the medical criteria for having a wish granted?
To qualify for a wish, the child must have a diagnosed illness that is considered to be life-threatening by their physician. We do consider wishes on a case-by-case basis, so it is always best to contact us if there is a question as to whether a child qualifies.

Can a child qualify for a wish if they have received one from another wish-granting organization?
No, a child that has received a wish from another wish granting organization is not eligible for a wish from Make-A-Wish.

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Referring A Child

How do you find the children?
The wish children are referred to us by their parents, physician, social worker, teacher or neighbor. Some kids even refer themselves. Anyone can contact us about how to refer a child to Make-A-Wish. But the family needs to be aware of and agree to the referral.

Are all of the children terminal?
No, Make-A-Wish fulfills wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. A great majority of the children we have helped are still alive today.

What illnesses qualify a child for a wish?
Conditions that generally qualify children for our services include, but are not limited to, various forms of cancer, heart disease, Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy and organ transplants. Children with more chronic conditions like cerebral palsy, Crohn’s disease or spina bifida may qualify if their conditions are coupled with other complications and the combination is considered life-threatening.

Does the family have to know I am referring their child?
Yes, the family must be aware that the referral is being made.

Does the family’s financial status matter?
No, the economic background of the child and their family has no bearing on whether or not a wish is granted. The only qualifying factors are age and medical condition.

How do I refer a child?
Please Refer a Child and complete the wish referral form or contact Ashley at or at (615) 221-2200 x116.


How much of a time commitment is needed for volunteers?
Make-A-Wish does not mandate specific time commitments for any volunteers. Some wishes, like gift wishes, are quickly and easily fulfilled. Some wishes, like travel wishes, could take longer because the family travels on their timetable.

I'm not 18 years old. Can I still volunteer for Make-A-Wish?
Although all wish-granting volunteers must be 18 years old to work on wishes, there are a number of other opportunities for volunteers that are at least 16 years old including helping at events, working in the Make-A-Wish office or organizing a fundraiser at school.

Do I have to contribute to Make-A-Wish to become a volunteer?
No, you do not have to make a contribution to Make-A-Wish to become a volunteer. However, you will have to pay for a criminal background check which is required by Make-A-Wish®

Do wish volunteers travel with the family/child?
No, there are 62 Make-A-Wish chapters around the country. When we send a wish family to another state, that chapter will help facilitate the wish.

Why are wishes handled by wish teams rather than individuals?
A two or three-person team provides a good support network when working on wishes. If one volunteer is busy, the other one can pick up the slack. And in emotional situations, it is good to have a wish partner to lean on. Finally, working in teams helps to protect volunteers from potential accusations of impropriety.

How do I become a volunteer?
Please contact Val Haines at or at (615) 221-2200 x117.


How do you pay for the wishes?
We rely entirely on private donations from individuals, companies, foundations, events, schools and corporations. We receive no government funds or grants.

How much of Make-A-Wish's funds are spent on wishes?
More than 77% of all funds received go towards fulfilling wishes.

How are the rest of Make-A-Wish's funds spent?
8% is used on fundraising, 15% is used on administration and as stated above, more than 77% are used to make wishes come true.

Does Make-A-Wish conduct telemarketing campaigns?
No, Make-A-Wish has a policy against telemarketing because it is considered intrusive and not cost-effective. However, be careful of sound-alike organizations that conduct aggressive telemarketing campaigns. Many donors are confused and think they are donating to Make-A-Wish. They are not.

Will my donation help local children or will it be sent to your national organization?
Donations raised in our chapter territory stay local to help fund wish granting of children in our area. Donors can request that their donation be restricted to a specific geographic area, if desired.

Do you receive funding from the United Way?
While Make-A-Wish is not a United Way agency, we do participate in its Contributor’s Choice program in many of the counties it serves. 

Can I donate my airline mileage to Make-A-Wish?
Yes. Your donation of airline mileage can help us grant thousands of travel wishes. To donate your miles, please see our Wishes in Flight information under Ways to Help.

Can my financial contribution be tax deductible?
Yes. Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. As such, financial contributions may be deductible for federal income tax purposes. Please consult with your financial advisor to determine the extent of tax deductibility.

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Make-A-Wish® Middle Tennessee
600 Hill Avenue
Suite 201
Nashville, TN 37210
(615) 221-2200