Make-A-Wish Ireland has one simple aim – to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, to bring hope, strength and happiness.
Since 1992, Make-A-Wish has granted wishes for more than 3,100 brave children across Ireland, including 197 wishes granted in 2023 alone. A wish granted is true magic for the child, providing respite from their normal routines of hospitals, doctors and treatment. Make-A-Wish does not receive any government funding and relies overwhelmingly on the kindness of the Irish public to continue granting wishes.
As a well-respected and popular children’s charity, Make-A-Wish is fully committed to providing the maximum level of care and enjoyment for our children and their families. This is achieved through a combination of professionalism, attention to detail and sensitivity. Nothing is too much trouble for a wish child.
In all possible cases, Make-A-Wish ensures that all immediate family members can participate in the child’s wish. In doing so the family can create lasting, happy memories.
Make-A-Wish Ireland is ‘triple locked’ by Charities Institute Ireland for best practice in transparency and accountability.
Together, we create life-changing wishes for children with serious illnesses.
View the video below to see how it all began.
How it all began
During a long night-time stakeout kneeling in some desert weeds in the spring of 1980, U.S. Customs Agent Tommy Austin tells Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer Ron Cox his problem. His wife’s friend Linda has a small son named Chris Greicius who is probably going to die of leukemia. The seven-year-old boy yearns to be a police officer “to catch bad guys” with Austin. Running into bureaucratic hesitation at Customs, Austin asks Cox if maybe DPS can do something. “I’ll rent a helicopter myself if I have to,” Austin says.
Cox takes the request to DPS spokesman Allan Schmidt and he gives Schmidt carte blanche to grant Chris’ wish. Soon Austin receives a call from Chris’ mom saying that she doesn’t think he can hang on much longer.
“None of us had any idea what we were getting into at the time,” Schmidt will recall 30 years later. On April 29, Chris comes from Scottsdale Memorial Hospital to the empty lot by DPS. There he and his parents are given a tour. That’s when Lt. Col. Dick Schaefer gives the boy a “Smokey Bear” hat and one of his own old badges, and Chris becomes Arizona’s first and only honorary DPS officer.
Everyone who meets the beaming boy chewing bubble gum wants to help. At the end of the day, some of those involved meet in a spontaneous group hug and realise they don’t want the day to be the end of it. They also know they don’t have much time. Two of them, Cox and Eaves, go to John’s Uniforms and order one Chris’ size. Employees work all night to have it ready the next day. A group of officers take the uniform to his house, where Shankwitz sets up cones for Chris to steer his battery-powered motorcycle through to qualify for a motorcycle officer’s wings.
But when they return the next day to present the wings to Chris, he’s gone back into the hospital. With his DPS gifts all around him, clutching his new wings, Chris gives a last smile for the men who have done so much for him in such a short time. He passes May 3.
“He was only seven years, 269 days old when he died. But he taught me about being a man. Even though he was only a boy. I can tell you that because of meeting Chris, I am an entirely different man.” – Tommy Austin, Make-A-Wish co-founder, about our first wish kid, Chris Greicius.
“It’s been more than 30 years since my son Chris received his wish, and I am still amazed and inspired how one little boy’s dream to be a policeman has touched the lives of so many thousands of people. ” - Linda Pauling, Chris Greicius's mother
Make-A-Wish Ireland is an affiliate of the international Make-A-Wish family. The organisation started in America in 1980 with the first wish child Christopher James Greicius.
There are now 39 affiliates of Make-A-Wish International. All affiliates are autonomous in the way we raise funds. The money we raise in Ireland is spent granting the wishes of children all over Ireland. In addition we are able to use our contacts with the other international chapters of Make-A-Wish when we need their help; this is known as a wish assist.
Every 16 minutes, Make-A-Wish grants the wish of a child with a life-threatening medical condition. 33,000 wishes were granted around the world in 2019 alone.
Make-A-Wish International grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Make-A-Wish America grants the wishes of children in the United States and its territories through its 60 chapters, while Make-A-Wish International serves children outside the United States in more than 50 countries on five continents. With the help of generous donors and over 43,000 volunteers, the Make-A-Wish has granted more than 490,000 wishes worldwide since inception.
For more information about Make-A-Wish International please click here.