2018-12-05 / Opinion

Make-A-Wish Proves Its Worth

Other Editors Say...

The wishes that www.wish.org grants to sick children– the family vacations, the celebrity surprises– have always been obviously priceless.

But now researchers have quantified in real dollars and cents just what those wishes are worth in terms of improved health for patients.

A new study of about 500 patients from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus has shown that children who were granted a wish were substantially less likely to have unplanned hospital stays and trips to the emergency room than children who did not receive wishes.

And because the kids who benefited from Make-a- Wish events spent less time in the hospital, they also had lower medical bills, researchers discovered.

The study’s lead researcher hailed the findings as the first empirical evidence that lifting the young patients’ spirits benefits their health in real terms over time.

Make-a-Wish experiences tend to make everyone involved happier.

In 2013, nearly the entire city of San Francisco was involved in giving a young cancer patient a daylong crime-fighting turn as Batman. (The boy is now cancer free.)

Who wouldn’t feel happy to play a part in that?

Closer to home, Make-a- Wish recipients have had their rooms redecorated in extravagant themes, met their favorite celebrities, and gotten special previews of the Toledo Air Show.

The study cannot explain how the wishes have the effect they do, but researchers suggested that patients who get an encouraging lift from the experience return to treatment with a boost in mood and brighter outlook, which in turn helps them through the difficult treatments necessary for seriously ill children.

Ideally, the study will prompt more research into how the mind-body-spirit connection we all perceive intuitively can help everyone’s health.–Toledo Blade

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