I did an AMA on another topic before and had a lot of fun. Considering the recent picture (from a local newspaper in my area) that made the front page, I figured I'd give an opportunity to learn more about the rest of the foundation. I'm just a volunteer so I'll do my best to answer your questions.

Proof: Here's a picture of my volunteer badge: http://i.imgur.com/NlVSdfa.jpg

I'll answer more questions in the morning and throughout the day so please leave whatever is on your mind. In the mean time see some awesome wishes happening around here at https://www.facebook.com/MakeAWishMO.

Comments: 119 • Responses: 43  • Date: 

real-dreamer17 karma

timmyshimmy9 karma

Yeah, so that's what led me to doing this AMA today. This newspaper is in my city. It is the kind of newspaper that advertises shops that sell bongs. All I know about the wish is what I know from the article - http://blogs.riverfronttimes.com/rftmusic/2013/08/make-a-wish_juggalo.php. The wish kid here was on a travel wish from a different chapter. When a chapter sends a family on a travel wish they get everything together for them (transportation, tickets, lodging, venues, meal money, etc.) and sends them on their way. There is a lot of information we give them about staying safe and having fun as a family as well as representing the foundation well. During the travel it is up to the parents to, well, parent their kids. If you look at that article in the link, you'll see on the first page a picture of the wish kid and his mother taken in front of the same van. You'll also notice a picture of his friend sitting in the wheelchair. Skip forward to the picture with the girl and you'll notice it is the same van with his friend also in the background still sitting in his wheelchair. I think at that point the reader would be asking "where is his mother?".

There are a lot of instances where on a wish the activity is beyond what is planned sometimes for the better (i.e. a celebrity has his/her celebrity friends also meet the wish kid) and sometimes for the bad (a child's illness impacts them during the wish), but this is the first time I've ever heard anything like this.

TL;DR: True (apparently). The other pictures in the article show his mother was also right there.

SailingToNowhere2 karma

That was in the newspapers in Denmark this morning too!

timmyshimmy1 karma

Wow, crazy how media grabs all the wrong stories.

truevindication13 karma

Was there ever a wish you guys were asked for and it couldn't be granted, hard as the foundation tried?

What happens if kids can't get their first wish, do they have a wish list or something?

If you could wish for anything, what would your wish be?

timmyshimmy10 karma

There are a few rules that we have to meet like no weapons. In Missouri, hunting is popular so sometimes that is a wish. The hardest ones to grant within the rules are the ones like meeting the president (he has met wish kids before, but as you can imagine getting his time is tough).

Yes, definitely have at least one backup. For instance a recent kid wanted to go to the beach. The one they picked out had a motorcycle rally the week they wanted to go. Nothing wrong with motorcyclists but the kid's condition didn't pair well with loud noises. So we sent them to their backup beach.

Oh wow, I never really thought about my wish. I think it would be to meet someone that I could learn from. Someone who runs a non-profit, Bill Gates maybe, or the most interesting guy in the world (from his AMA he really is interesting).

MagnificentJake5 karma

In regards to the "no weapons" policy, the Catch-A-Dream foundation covers this gap for the more outdoorsy/hunting-inclined children. While I'm sure has Reddit has a lot of opinions on hunting, to deny that it's a part of the culture in rural areas is also folly.

But I can see why Make-A-Wish would want to stray away from controversy, which is in some cases, controversial.

Personally, I think their "About us" page is a little combative towards Make-A-Wish. But whatever, no skin off my nose.

timmyshimmy1 karma

Thanks for sharing, I hadn't heard of them before.

amalgaman12 karma

Thank you for what you do. My daughter received a Make a Wish trip to Disney World when she was 4. Our Wish granters were fantastic and even showed up at at the airport at 4 am to see us off. Just an amazing experience.

(My daughter is now 8 and has had a clean bill of health for 2 years!)

timmyshimmy7 karma

That's wonderful to hear of the good health of your daughter. Wow, 4am, don't know if I'm that dedicated, ha! Glad you had a great time.

emlgsh11 karma

Do you get to put "professional Genie" on your resume?

timmyshimmy8 karma

Awesome! That's my favorite comment so far.

Res_Garryn9 karma

Hi - no question, I just wanted to say thank you. Your affiliates in the UK answered my sister's wish almost twenty years ago, and because they did I have some very special memories of her. I was too young at the time to understand how ill she was, but without Make-A-Wish's involvement I'm not sure I'd be able to remember anything outside the hospital and the hospices.

You guys do amazing work.

timmyshimmy5 karma

Thank you for sharing your story. Very touching and a good reminder of how the impact of the wish is seen outside of just the wish kid and just the moment of time.

AflacHobo19 karma

I'm a childhood cancer survivor and I just wanted to say thank you for doing what you do!

timmyshimmy9 karma

Thanks for sharing. You had me at your first 5 words.

superferd4 karma

I am a childhood cancer.

timmyshimmy3 karma

Man, I love the cheeky side of reddit.

Lillyroseviolet7 karma

What are the requirements for a child to be able to have a wish granted?

timmyshimmy8 karma

Good question. So two requirements - have to be a toddler/child (2.5 to 18 years old) and have a life-threatening medical condition. See more here: http://wish.org/refer-a-child

RedditLad7897 karma

From a personal standpoint who do you think is the most giving and gracious celebrity that has granted a wish?

timmyshimmy28 karma

John Cena for sure. Lots of kids want to meet wrestlers (I didn't realize it was that popular). He is big, fierce, intimidating, but the moment he gets around a wish kid he is a big teddy bear. See more about him: http://www.wwe.com/inside/overtheropes/wweinyourcorner/johncenawish

violetgranger6 karma

Have you ever had someone lie about the whole make a wish thing? as in the kid lying about dying or something? how was it handled?

timmyshimmy7 karma

Great question! All along the way the wish kid's doctor is involved. From the moment a referral is given and then when a wish is decided upon the doctor makes a decision if the child is well enough to handle the requirements of the wish. If there would ever be a lying situation, the doctor would have to lie as well which I'm sure would get them kicked out of medicine.

On the same note, I think what we face more often is pushy parents who want to direct their child towards a specific wish. The foundation gives us all kinds of tips to ensure we are focused on the wish kid and what they truly want to wish for.

violetgranger3 karma

Pushy parents? as in wanting something for themselves and not the child? that's just...evil.

timmyshimmy4 karma

To some degree. At other times it is more of what they are used to. They take them to the hospital, doctors, exams, etc. all that turn out with questions and options. If they aren't pushing to have their child treated completely in those situations, they might get lost in the mix. I think parents take on some personality from having to fight for good healthcare (at least in our country).

Ashkir6 karma

Thank you! I'm a wish kid. Wished to talk to my president and it happened. I'm mobile right now but I can dig up a picture later.

Keep up the good work.

timmyshimmy2 karma

Fantastic. So happy your wish came true.

margorun6 karma

Have some kids you've worked with hit you harder than others? Have you stayed in contact (at all or more so) with any of the kids? How personal does it get?

timmyshimmy21 karma

The one that hit the hardest . . . I called his grandma to make the introduction. Usually the introductions are great, I'm excited and they get excited. I told her why I was calling, who I was, how great wishes are, etc. All I heard was silence. I took a breath and paused. He passed away the week prior. Hit me like a ton of rocks. Obviously that stopped the conversation, but I wanted to let his grandma talk. I asked her to tell me stories about him. And she did. Several. Wonderful stories about how he lived life to the fullest. I never knew him and never met him, but being able to give his grandma a chance to share his joy really touched me.

Sometimes we stay in contact. I try to let the family decide that. We intersect with their lives for a specific reason I don't want to feel forced after that.

msabre75 karma

Just want to chime in that Make-A-Wish is an amazing nonprofit doing great work for children.

A friend I have got to play drums with Coldplay a few years ago. Was just completely awesome to see his excitement from the experience.

timmyshimmy3 karma

That's great. I really like those wishes where the wish kid gets rocketed into fame for the day.

UnknownQTY5 karma

Obvious question, how did you get started in this?

timmyshimmy9 karma

I do a lot of volunteer work for my church. I wanted to increase my circle and heard the nice things about Make-A-Wish so started to check into it. Each wish I work on I'm paired up with another volunteer so I also get to meet new people each time.

Felipe223754 karma

How do you become a wish granter? Can anyone do it, or is their some sort of special requirements?

timmyshimmy3 karma

Hey that's wonderful. See my answer to AirTraffic9. About the requirements, at least for my chapter the only real requirements are being over 18 and passing background checks.


Ya'll should send a kid to space. Talk to Richard Branson. I want to see a kid get launched into space.

timmyshimmy3 karma

I love this idea. I think he is the kind of guy that could make it happen.

CatamountAndDoMe4 karma

What's the most rewarding part of your job? Thanks for doing what you do, by the way.

timmyshimmy9 karma

You're welcome. I get to talk to kids. Kids who most other adults either 1 - stick them with needles or 2 - keep asking them how they are doing. I get to talk to them about planning the thing that will likely be their best day(s) of their life. So rewarding to see them light up.

AdonisJones4 karma

What is the strangest wish you've ever granted? Did it involve monkeys in any way?

timmyshimmy12 karma

First bears, now monkeys? Hmmm. Not a lot of strange ones, but one kid wanted to meet the Nathan's hot dog eating champion guy. The wishes turn out to be a lot of what you think - travel, celebrities, material items, or dream days (like be a farmer for a day). Even more interesting are the families and their diversity - one family raised wolves.

9Tskid3 karma

What's one request that gets asked a lot but doesn't come through.

timmyshimmy5 karma

I think one request that was popular recently was meeting One Direction. It wasn't that they weren't going to fill a wish, it was just that they weren't touring yet. I think now that they are touring they are able to fill them.

A lot of times the wish kids will say something like "I want a bigger house". Obviously that isn't something we can do, but it leads to a bigger issue. A lot of these families have spent their life savings on the illness and often times one parent has to quit work to care for their child full time. The financial impact of illnesses is something I've learned while doing this.

ZeroCiipheR3 karma

What is the biggest wish that you guys granted?

timmyshimmy1 karma

Hmmm. I think some of the big ones are ones in which an entire town turns out, a parade, or something like that. In terms of costs it might be international travel wishes but as far as volume of people/planning/participating definitely the first. Here's one from our area (warning, tear-jerker). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgETIzqLMUw

AusorOZ3 karma

what does your job actually involve?

timmyshimmy5 karma

Perfect question. For each wish kid there are two wish granter volunteers that works with the family. We meet with the family where we do a bunch of boring stuff (paper work) and then a lot of fun stuff (like finding out everything about the wish kid eventually getting them to talk through a wish). After that it depends upon their wish. If their wish is a celebrity or a travel wish, typically the foundation handles most everything and we are more like delivery people then. But wishes with a more local flavor (i.e. room makeovers, be a "star" for a day, or shopping sprees) we get to coordinate and handle. I always want a kid to really get their true wish, but I really love it when they pick the local things. So much fun to be a part of it all. Whatever the wish we stay in light contact with them through the process and follow up after the wish too.

buc_nasty_693 karma

What is the most ridiculous wish you ever fulfilled?

timmyshimmy7 karma

This wasn't mine but a fellow wish granter had a wish kid that wanted a turtle. Nothing ridiculous about it, but was very small compared to a typical wish (at least in terms of cost). But that is what his true wish really was so they did it up big - redid the kid's room with turtle decorations and got a lush turtle house.

Roborbeavis2 karma

Do any kids ever say their wish is not to die? Or is the make a wish foundation only for cancer patients with types of cancer theirs no cure/treatment for?

timmyshimmy2 karma

I hope they all wish not to die. For a wish to be granted the child has to be facing a life threatening condition, so unfortunately some wish kids do pass away. Sometimes we have rush wishes that need to be filled when the doctors say there is only a little time left.

AGoodMan3242 karma

Top five movies??

timmyshimmy1 karma

Let's see. Matrix, Shawshank Redemption, M, Metropolis, and Léon: The Professional. At least those are the ones that are on my mind at the moment. What are yours?

staalbosnia2 karma

Do you group certain make a wish kids? For example if a bunch of girls want to meet Justin Bieber would you schedule a time where they all can meet him?

timmyshimmy4 karma

Another great question! Yes that happens from time to time. Especially for big events, for some reason I'm stuck on Wrestling at the moment and their big summer Wrestlemania type events always has multiple kids at it. For single celebrities, sometimes it is a couple but never really too many wish kids at once so they can still get personal attention from the celebrity. Justin Bieber is a very popular wish as well. Regardless of how people think of him and his music, he has been very kind to Make A Wish and the kids he has encountered.

FranticFane2 karma

What made you want to volunteer for Make-A-Wish?

timmyshimmy1 karma

See answer to UnknownQTY, but in general I was looking for some more volunteer opportunities outside of church. It is really a solid foundation with a very hard working staff making wonderful wishes come true during a child's most challenging time.

FranticFane2 karma

Do you feel like you really make a difference in someones life?

timmyshimmy3 karma

Absolutely. If nothing else, it really makes them experience something other than talking about their illness for a period of time. But in reality, their entire outlook (for both the kid and family) is improved. No, we aren't magical healers, but it does wonders for them. Take a look at what the families say in this survey: http://arizona.wish.org/wp-content/blogs/105/uploads//full-wish-impact-study.pdf (statistics start on page labeled 4).

UltraFeeder2 karma

Wow! It's really admirable what you're doing, what are the most common wishes that come up? Also, what percentage of wishes are actually granted?

timmyshimmy3 karma

Thank you. By far the most common wish is a travel wish and of those the most common travel wish is Disney World. While there the kids stay at Give Kids the World. Check out that place it is amazing - http://www.gktw.org/.

I'm not sure on percentage, but I would say almost all of them. The ones that aren't filled sadly are the ones in which the child has passed away. As much as this is rewarding, there are many times of crying too.

keenynman3432 karma

What is the most heart warming and touching wish you have ever granted that has changed you. Thank you for doing these kind deeds, it's the people like you that give me faith in humanity.

timmyshimmy8 karma

Thank you. I'd say it was a room makeover. I know that doesn't sound like it, but it was the whole situation. Mom abandoned her son and now grandma was the sole care taker. He does not communicate and his disease was near taking his life. He was growing his hair out long as his grandma wanted to donate his hair when he passed. He spent most of the day in his room due to his condition. He/she wanted a peaceful, comfortable room for him to live out his days. Just to see him light up seeing everything, wow, I'm crying now just remembering it all.

AirTraffic92 karma

I want to become a wish granter. Where do I sign up?

timmyshimmy3 karma

Awesome! The way to get connected is to connect with your local chapter. You can look them up here: http://wish.org/ways-to-help. Now, it might be different for each chapter, but basically I had to go through a day long training and then I was off and running. They have sign ups for wish kids continually. So you never feel pressured to volunteer if life gets busy and have an opportunity to sign up when you have time. It really works out great.

laidymondegreen2 karma

I live in the same city you do (though I may be moving soon). I'm also a photographer. Do you think having a sort of paparrazi-for-a-day to follow the kid on their wish and give them the pictures later would be the sort of thing Make a Wish is interested in? Who would I talk to about that? (What you do is awesome, and I want to participate too!)

timmyshimmy2 karma

That would actually be welcome and great. When wish kids get their wish their families decide if they allow publicity or not. For the families who allow publicity the foundation uses their pictures in social media, print brochures, etc. However, many of the times there just aren't great pictures - because the typical photo takers (parents) are directly involved in the wish too. Have a third party that could concentrate on the photographs directly would be fantastic. Plus, you get to be part of the fun!

The best way to connect is through the local chapter. Each one has a volunteer coordinator. You can look them up here: http://wish.org/ways-to-help. If you stay in town, all the better maybe we'll cross paths on a wish. If not, I wish you all the best on wherever your travels take you.

4181562 karma

Doesn't any body ever wish to get laid?

timmyshimmy11 karma

Is this a question about Make-A-Wish or about Reddit?

thhhhhee1 karma

Have you got to meet John Cena? If so, is he as nice as he puts on?

timmyshimmy3 karma

I did get to meet him one time. Oh was he nice. Really spent a lot of time with the kids, very personable with them, gave them all kinds of swag, reached out to them during the match, and he even went and grabbed another wrestler to meet with them too. Was funny though, a few kids I know outside of Make a Wish that don't watch wrestling didn't know who he was until I told them "he's Fred's dad".......

phoenix9051 karma

I think what you guys do is GREAT!! My question is how do you decide what money should go to what kid?

timmyshimmy1 karma

Myself I don't have to decide, but the majority of wishes cost similar to each other. For a wish that has a higher price tag than the norm, we put it through our board of directors for review and approval.

poopsterstreudal1 karma

Would you fight a bear with a spear if it was a child's wish?

timmyshimmy9 karma

You ask like I haven't done that already! Just the other day I had a real young kid I was working with, kept asking about tigers. Over and over and over again. However, mom reminded him how afraid of tigers he was.

[deleted]1 karma


timmyshimmy3 karma

I'd be happy to answer your question, but those aren't the numbers I have. If you have some details as to why you think so little is spent on wishes please share. What I have is the published national information - http://wish.org/about-us/making-a-difference/managing-funds with a corresponding mention in our local chapter - http://mo.wish.org/ways-to-help/how-your-gift-is-spent/

IAlmostDied6 karma

It appears my numbers are both old and based on a single make a wish chapter. You have my apologies, i got my data wrong. The internet, while useful, is not to be trusted too much, and sometimes I forget that.

timmyshimmy2 karma

You are wonderful. Thanks for posting the reply and deleting the original. I agree, sometimes the internet is our own worse enemy. Thank you.

timmyshimmy1 karma

These guys are funny and nuts. Haven't had that wish yet (thankfully).......

1MA9FAG1 karma

What would you do if a kid asked for unlimited wishes?

timmyshimmy2 karma

Clever! Let's see what Robin Williams says about that one if his AMA request is filled.

Nomad_Shifter420 karma

has a kid ever had a wish so awesome it caused him or one of your employees (volunteers?) to be arrested/killed/maimed/deported during it's granting?

timmyshimmy8 karma

Ummm, not that I know of. However, a popular wish it to be a super hero for a day. An entire community will come together to create a story line with bad guys and scenes etc. So there is a lot of pretend actions of your list in that regard. Not as juicy of an answer though if there was a swim-with-the-dolphins-turns-out-to-be-a-shark kind of story . . . .