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Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia seeking donations of airline miles

4/8/2014, 11:54 a.m.
Make-A-Wish has been granting wishes for the past 30 years.

Most Americans have seen or heard of a wish come true – whether it’s a 5-year-old boy rescuing a city as his favorite superhero, a young girl wishing to dance with a prince, or a teenager relishing beachside moments in the Caribbean, miles away from the thought of treatment and the pain of hospital visits. Few recognize the resources Make-A-Wish® uses to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. In fact, the numbers add up quickly – Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia needs 33 million airline miles to grant 165 wishes this year that involve travel – most of them in the summer.

That’s why Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia is encouraging the donation of airline miles throughout the month of April to prepare for the busiest wish granting season. The goal is to raise over one million miles this month. Individuals who fly on Delta, United, and US Airways can easily donate frequent flier miles, in just a few simple steps, by clicking here.

The number of miles an individual donates ranges from a few thousand miles* to millions. Donated miles never expire and are never used for anything other than wish travel.

“Air travel factors into 80 percent of the life-changing wishes our chapter grants,” said Sheri Lambert, president and CEO, for Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia. “By donating air miles, supporters of Make-A-Wish can help wish kids travel to the destinations of their one true wish.”

Some estimates show there are more than 16 trillion frequent flier miles that go unused each year and some 25 percent of people let their miles expire or at the last minute use miles for magazine subscriptions or a one-time upgrade. In contrast, the impact of a wish can last a lifetime.

In fact, medical professionals say wish experiences can improve children’s state of mind, make them more willing to comply with treatment requirements, and can even improve their physical health. Former wish kids say their wish experience improved their health and strength, gave them more confidence and the will to pursue more challenging life goals, made them more philanthropic and compassionate, and even helped save their life.

Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia accepts the donation of airline miles year-round, but April is a critical time for airline miles as travel arrangements are being made for summer wish travel. The efforts of Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia are part of a large-scale campaign being implemented by the 61 Make-A-Wish chapters nationwide. Throughout the month of April, radio and television on-air miles drives and corporate campaigns, bolstered by a national marketing initiative, will support the campaign. Nationally, Make-A-Wish chapters need a total of 2.5 billion airline miles each year to grant 10,000 wishes that involve travel.

To learn more about the wishes Make-A-Wish Greater Virginia grants, click here.