Wish Fulfillment Organizations for People With Cancer

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 04/2018

Wish fulfillment organizations allow people with a chronic or advanced condition to have their wishes and dreams come true. Such dreams may include taking a family vacation, attending an event, purchasing a desired item, or meeting someone special. Wish fulfillment organizations aim to help people with advanced illness enrich the quality of their lives and create meaningful memories.

Each organization has different requirements and limitations regarding the types of wishes they grant. You can find specific details by looking at each website and contacting the organization directly. Often, they require a referral by a member of your health care team, family member, or the patient. Age and diagnosis are other requirements that differ with each organization.  

If you or a child has a wish they would like granted, consider contacting one of the following organizations. Please note that the links below will take you outside of Cancer.Net.

Wish fulfillment organizations for children

Children’s Wish Foundation International grants wishes to children with advanced illness, including advanced cancer. Children under the age of three can participate in the organization's Young Minds program, which provides children younger than 4 or those with a cognitive age younger than 4, a gift from a variety of choices.

The Clayton Dabney Foundation for Kids with Cancer gives families with children in the last stages of terminal cancer assistance in creating everlasting memories by providing last wishes, gifts, special events, family travel, and financial assistance with household expenses.

The Dream Factory grants wishes to critically and chronically ill children between 3 and 18 years old. Parents, guardians, physicians, other caregivers, and children with advanced diseases can make referrals to begin the wish-granting process.

Give Kids the World is a nonprofit resort in Central Florida that provides weeklong, cost-free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. A child must be sponsored by one of more than 250 wish-granting organizations in the country or a children's hospital affiliated with Give Kids the World.

The Granted Wish Foundation fulfills wishes for physically challenged children and young adults between the ages of 5 and 25. Wishes are limited to one per family and for those who have not received a wish by another organization.

Hope Kids hosts regular events and activities that help restore hope for the future. Hope Kids also provides a support community for children with advanced illnesses and their families.

Jason's Dream for Kids grants wishes to children diagnosed with advanced disease living in New Jersey. The organization relies on medical professionals and parents for referrals and determines medical eligibility by speaking with the health care team.

Kids Wish Network grants wishes for children who are between the ages of 3 and 18 and have a life-threatening medical condition. Anyone can refer a child, including a family member, friend, nurse, doctor, or social worker. In addition, the organization's "Hero of the Month" program was developed to honor children also between the ages of 3 and 18 who have overcome life-altering circumstances and have stayed in or been treated at one of their Hero pediatric care facilities.

Make-a-Wish Foundation grants wishes to children between 2 ½ and 18 years old with life-threatening medical conditions. The organization accepts referrals from health care professionals and parents, and children can even nominate themselves.

The Marty Lyons Foundation grants wishes for children with advanced illnesses between the ages of 3 and 17.

Operation Liftoff provides children with advanced illness three types of trips: dream trips for children with advanced illness, trips for medical treatment in other regions, and group trips to help teenagers with advanced illnesses leave the hospital and bond with peers. Parents and caregivers complete a form to request a trip. If a child does not qualify for treatment trip services, Operation Liftoff will provide alternative service information to families in need.

The Rainbow Connection helps grant wishes to children between 2 ½ and 18 years old with a life threatening medical condition who live in Michigan. Medical professionals, parents or guardians, and children may submit wish requests.

A Special Wish Foundation grants wishes for children and young adults between the ages of 3 and 21 who have been diagnosed with an advanced illness and live near Spokane, Washington. Wishes fall into three categories, including a special gift, a visit to a special place, or the opportunity to meet a special hero.

Sunshine Foundation helps fulfill the dreams of children 3 to 18 years old who have advanced cancer, special needs, or who have faced abuse.

Wishing Star grants wishes to children with advanced illnesses who are between 3 and 21 years old and live in Eastern and Central Washington and Idaho. This organization focuses on providing positive and uplifting experiences for children with life-threatening or life-shortening illnesses.

Wishing Well Foundation USA is committed to granting wishes for children with advanced illness. Children between the ages of 3 and 18 years old are eligible to apply.

Wish fulfillment organizations for adults and families

Deliver the Dream provides families living with an advanced illness, whether the illness involves a child or a parent, the chance to enjoy a 3-day retreat.

Dream Foundation fulfills the wishes of adults with advanced illnesses. The foundation helps adults find peace and closure with the realization of a final wish. Dream Foundation grants requests to adults whose life expectancy is 9 months or less.

EpicExperience.org offers free week-long outdoor experiences to people age 18 or older who have been diagnosed with cancer.  Experiences are based upon outdoor adventure activities such as whitewater kayaking and during the winter months snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Connections with other individuals who share a similar story will create a community that lasts long after their Epic Experience has ended. 

Reeling and Healing Midwest offers fly-fishing wellness retreats for men and women with cancer. The organization helps renew participants' spirits and hopes through fly-fishing, nature, peer coaching, and peer bonding. Patients older than 18 are eligible to apply and are responsible for paying a registration fee and a daily fee.

Second Wind Dreams works to enhance the life of those living in elder care communities in the United States and Canada and grants wishes to those living in nursing, assisted living, and hospice facilities.

United Special Sportsman Alliance specializes in providing children with disabilities or advanced illness and disabled veterans an outdoor adventure of their dreams. Trips include hunting, fishing, water sports, and other activities.

Related Resources

Completing Your Life

Caring for a Terminally Ill Child: A Guide for Parents

Camps and Retreats for Families and Children Affected by Cancer