Community Support
Refer a Child

Who Qualifies for a Wish?
Make-A-Wish®  has only three requirements for a child to be referred.
  1. The child is over the age of 2 1/2 and under the age of 18 at the time of the referral.
  2. The child's physician certifies the child has a qualifying, life-threatening medical condition.
  3. The child has not previously been granted a wish from Make-A-Wish or any other wish granting organization.

The Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation® grants wishes regardless of race, religion, or socioeconomic status.

Who Can Refer a Child?

Referring a child is easy and the first step in making a child's wish come true!  We accept referrals from the following sources:
  • Medical professionals (social workers, nurses, child life specialists and physicians)
  • Parents or Guardians
  • The potential wish child

However, anyone who is aware of a child who may need our help is welcome to contact us.  (Or call 1-800-464-9474.) 

The Make-A-Wish Foundation® respects the privacy of the children and families it serves.  All medical information is considered confidential and is not discussed with outside parties unless it is required for the wish and the child's parent(s) or guardian(s) have given their consent.  Make-A-Wish keeps all wish referral information strictly confidential. 

How Do I Refer a Child?

You can make a referral by internet, phone or email.  You will need some basic information to make a referral, including the child's name, medical condition, birthday, parent(s)/guardian(s) name(s), address, phone number, and the attending physician's name and phone number.

To refer by Internet, please use our online wish referral inquiry form.
To refer by email, send a message to [email protected].
To refer by phone, call 1-800-464-9474 or 415/321-7384.

If you are a medical professional, parent or guardian, or a potential wish child, please complete this form and fax to 415-982-0444.

What Geographic Area Does the Greater Bay Area Chapter Serve?

We serve the following 17 counties in Northern California:


Contra Costa
Del Norte

San Benito
San Francisco
San Mateo
Santa Clara
Santa Cruz


If you would like to refer a child who lives outside of our geographic area, please contact our national office at to find the appropriate local Make-A-Wish chapter.

Parents Guide
To download our Parents Guide, click here.



Frequently Asked Questions?

What is a wish?
A wish is a child's personal, heartfelt answer to the question, "If you could wish for anything...what would it be?"  The staff and volunteers of Make-A-Wish strive to fulfill every wish in a way that is truly magical and exceeds the expectations of each child.

How many wishes have been granted?
The Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation grants approximately 300 wishes per year.  In the spring of 2006, our chapter granted it's 4,000th wish.  We also host an additional number of wishes for children from other states who's wishes involve travel to the Bay Area.

Are all wish children terminal or dying?
No.  The Make-A-Wish Foundation fulfills wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions.  In fact, more than 80% of the children we have served are still planning for the future.

How do you find the children you serve?
Most wish children are referred to us by a parent, physician, social worker, nurse or child life specialist.  Some kids even refer themselves.  Anyone can refer a child; however, we ask that the family be made aware of and agree to the referral prior to contacting us.

Does the family's financial status matter?
No.  Financial status does not affect whether a child is eligible for a wish and is never considered.

Does Make-A-Wish serve only children with cancer?
No.  While children with cancer are probably the largest population of children we serve, we also work with children who have a range of other medical conditions, including:

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and HIV
  • Aplastic anemia, including Fanconi's
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) (rapidly progressive cases)
  • Heart disease
  • Lupus
  • Neurological disorders
  • Short bowel syndrome
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Transplants (bone marrow, stem cell and solid organ)
  • And many other syndromes and illnesses

If a child has already received a wish, is s/he eligible to receive another?
No.  A child who has received a wish from either another wish granting organization or the Make-A-Wish Foundation is not eligible to receive another from Make-A-Wish.




It's hard to find the words to express my sincere thanks for the smile you put on Will's little face.  You are all such wonderful people to give of yourselves and provide an authentic adventure for Will.  I hope you reallize how special it was for him to enter a world of adventure where he could sail the high seas and cross swords with fellow adventurers.  You gave him an escape, a journey to a special place where there are no doctors, no pain, no worry, only a custom made fantasy world just for him.  Will will always remember this day because it was a "good" day.  It was a day when he saw the very best in people and he was surrounded by love.  I know I'm ruining your hardened pirate image, but I hope you'll forgive a father who relishes every smile, every minute that Will feels good because he has had far too many where he didn't.  Will went to San Francisco a little boy who knew too much about illness, he returned to Houston as the triumphant "William the Red".  Thank you!
Will's dad referring to Will's wish to be a pirate

I am overwhelmingly impressed with what the Foundation does and how much it means to a family who has battled a life threatening disease.  We will always consider this trip to be the very best.
Cole's mom discussing his wish to swim with dolphins

Never did I think our family would be stricken by a life threatening disease; however, to provide a wish to a child (and their family) that has been through a life altering ordeal means more than words can say.
Chase's dad on Chase's wish to go on a Caribbean cruise

Seeing Michael's face and his smile made all the pain and suffering that we all went through during his treatment a faded memory in the past.
Michael's family discussing his wish to meet his favorite band

When we found out that his wish had been approved, the entire family jumped up and down and cried tears of joy...Derrick had a smile from ear to ear and said, "Wishes really do come true."...We have never seen Derrick smile so much and seem so happy.  I can't explain how it makes us feel to see our son beam with pride.  Words can't explain how grateful we are to Make-A-Wish for making Derrick's dream come true.  This will be a trip Derrick will never forget and will talk about for the rest of his life.
Derrick's mom on Derrick's wish to be a storm chaser 

Thank you so much for allowing a young teen, who is coping with a ton of medical issues, to completely forget all of those things for five days and have a trip of a lifetime.
Samuel's mom talking about his visit to LucasArts and Skywalker Ranch

We were treated so wonderfully everywhere we went, and she felt so special...From the moment I was first in contact with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, I had nothing but wonderful, caring people helping us grant Mia's wish.  You are all miraculous people and we thank you fromthe botton of our hearts!
Mia's mom on their trip to Disney World

This trip was very good medicine for Max.  The trip was very good medicine for us all.  We feel blessed to have experienced the joy that your organization gives children and their families during very difficult times.
Max's mom referring to their trip to Paris, France

...this wish has brought new meaning to the word "freedom" for us.  Your kind efforts have helped bring us memories to last a lifetime and share this time together was a priceless treasure given to us parents...
Jana's family discussing Jana's trip to Disneyland