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A wishing star…

“A special dream…,
a secret hoped for wish…,
that is the essence
and wonder of childhood”.
Make–A–Wish Foundation of Maharashtra.

“There is nothing like the power of a wish…” It is this belief which makes it possible for the Make–A–Wish Foundation to fulfill all those wishes of little children to whom life has dealt a cruel blow. They might be faced with life threatening diseases but there is something in the heartfelt desire of a child which touches the heart. “What makes it even more beautiful is the smile which lights up a child’s face when his most fervent wish is fulfilled”, says Meghna Bandhopadhya a social worker working with Make–A–Wish.

Most kids have the luxury of time to see their dreams being converted into reality. But for those faced with a life threatening disease, time affords only the luxury of living life to the fullest each day. Which is where the Foundation comes in. The largest wish granting organisation in the world, it exists for one purpose – “To fulfill the wishes of kids between the ages of three to eighteen years who have a life threatening illness”. The organisation was started in 1980 in America, when the first wish was granted by the Arizona Department of Public Safety to a 7–year–old boy who wished to become a police officer. The child’s delight in having his wish fulfilled inspired a group of volunteers to form a Foundation. There are now 79 chapters and several international affiliates. In India too, the Foundation has various offices and chapters in different cities. In Pune, the Make–A–Wish Foundation of Maharashtra came into existence in June 1998 when Mangal and Anil Bora, touched by the idea decided to set up a branch of the Foundation here. Since then, the Foundation has fulfilled 106 wishes of children.

To convert dreams into reality, the organisation enlists the help of various social workers and volunteers who go to pediatric wards in various hospitals in the city, interact with doctors and patients and try to draw up a list. The wish is only limited by a little child’s imagination. But the Foundation also works with doctors to ascertain whether the wish can be fulfilled. More often, wishes can be categorised as “I want to be…, I want to go and meet…, I want to go…, or I want a…” Six–year–old Amita wished for a big doll that could talk to her, four–year–old Mayur wished for a colouring book, twelve–year–old Anita wished for a teddy bear… Recently, seven year old Satyajit fulfilled his wish by becoming a doctor for a day at the Sancheti hospital, Pune.

No matter what the age, dreams are what make us remain forever young. A dream never gets old. Which is why wish granting is also there for senior citizens. To do this the Sukhroop Foundation has aptly called it’s new project Second Wind dreams to fulfill the wishes of elderly people as well. “We must never lose sight of the dream and what it means to anyone who comes into contact with the dream. There is no feeling like seeing a dream come true. Even better, the feeling that goes without knowing you have played a part in that dream. We can live on these feelings for a long time once we realise that a dream is not just for a resident, it soon becomes everyone’s dream”. – P. K. Beville, chairman of the board of Second Wind Dreams.

Make–A–Wish foundation is the largest wish granting organization in the world. It exists for one purpose: to fulfill the wishes of children between the age of 3–18 years who have life threatening illness.

The first wish was granted in 1980 to a 7 year old boy with leukemia. Officers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety granted his wish to be a police officer with a custom made uniform, helmet, badge and even a helicopter ride. That child’s delight in having his wish come true inspired a group of volunteers to form Make–A–Wish foundation. In 1983 Make–A–Wish foundation of America was founded. Today there are 79 chapters and several international affiliates. The Indian affiliate was established in 1996. Make–A–Wish Foundation of Maharashtra started in Pune in June’98.

Any child between the age 3–18 years who has been determined by a physician to have a life threatening medical condition is eligible.

Requests should be directed to Make–A–Wish Foundation of Maharashtra, Pune. Requests can be made by a parent, legal guardian, the wish child or a medical professional. If the initial call comes from some other than the above, we ask that the wish family be notified to call directly on their own behalf.

Volunteers from local chapters form ‘Wish teams’ who co–ordinate the wish. After explaining the purpose of the organization and the medical eligibility the representatives go on to identify the wish. Once the child’s physician determines if the wish can be fulfilled, the wish team then goes to work creating the magic.

All wish expenses are fully covered, including any travel and spending money. Our objective is to provide the child and family with memories of joy that are not clouded with worries of wish expenses.

The majority of wish requests fall into four major categories:
I want to go to…
I want to meet…
I want to be….
I want a….

We make every effort to include the immediate family wherever possible. Volunteers are the foundation of our organization and the majority of our work is done by them. You can be a wish team member, or help in areas like hospital visits, technical support, fund raising, special events, media/public relations, marketing of promotional items, etc.

It is true, dreams become realities. And what a sweeter reality than to live in the present and see the most cherished wish come true. A magical tale with the promise of hope, fulfillment and yes, a happy ending.

To contact Make–A–Wish Foundation of Maharashtra:
E–mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or write to: Make–A–Wish Foundation of Maharashtra,
C/o Li Taka Pharmaceuticals Ltd,
Himalaya Estate, 16 A, Shivajinagar,
Pune 411 005, Maharashtra, India.
Telephone: +91 20 5532670/+91 20 5533393
Fax: +91 20 5533211 docs/form.doc