Make-A-Wish Workers Reveal Which Wishes They Had To Say No To


Not all dreams come true....

Illness and a painful end of life is a harrowing thing to witness. It's all too unfair and cruel to personally experience; but it is an unfortunate part of many lives. Life will eventually end for all of us and the best we can hope is that we lived well and went peacefully or on our own terms. There are fantastic groups out there who assist in making pain slightly more bearable.

Specifically the 'Make-A-Wish Foundation' has been making dreams a reality for a very long time. They know that that one thing, an idea, a hope could brighten or extend a sick person's life. So they do their best to make as much happen as possible but as is life, nothing is guaranteed and they have to disappoint more often then they'd like.

Redditor u/abeannis wanted to share the tales of some wishes, good and bad by asking... Make-A-Wish recipients and workers, what were some wishes you HAD to say no to?

50. But it's the Way to Oz! 

I work in pediatric brain tumors, and the best wish I've ever heard was from a 10 year old boy who wanted to chase a tornado. Unfortunately they couldn't do it, but I think he was able to give a weather report on live TV. ValuableNerve

49. A Family Concern.

My step cousins daughter had leukemia and she was offered a trip to Disney. Her mother accepted and this this douche bag of a father refused to let her go unless they also paid for his other kids to go as well. I don't think she ended up getting to go, but she's also healthy these days. OhioMegi

48. Keepin' it Classy Sunny Philly! 

I was 17 when I got granted a wish. I originally wanted to take my family on a vacation abroad. They told me it couldn't happen due to budget and international relations. My alternative was to meet the cast of "Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia." They flew me and my parents out to Fox Studios in LA and I spent the whole day on set with them. Danny DeVito is shorter in real life. RamenJunky

47. Darn Allergies...

I was a recipient of a Make A Wish. I was 4 at the time, and I really, REALLY wanted a dog. Make A Wish said no. Second choice: Disney World (of course).

My mom later told me they said no because of allergy issues, as well as the fact that at the time it wasn't determined what my chances of survival was, and giving a living animal to a family that might become bereaved soon wasn't on their top priority. vangoghoutwithme

46. To the Pearl! 

My son received a wish when he was 10. He wished to see Pearl Harbor (he's a major history buff). We got a 7 day cruise in Hawaii. The way we were treated was so unbelievably lovely. I tear up just thinking about it. wafflesandcats

45. California Love! 

We are a Wish family. My youngest was very ill and very disabled. When we got the referral they asked what we thought she would like and we asked for a hot tub. She loved the water so much. They were super excited to put it in because it would have been the first one granted.

While we were waiting for it to be installed, she had a central line placed and could no longer use a hot tub. We opted for a trip to Disneyland since we have family in Southern California who could go into the parks with us. We stayed in the Grand Californian for a week. It was an amazing time. oxymom2002

44. They Find A Way!

My family wanted to go to Hawaii. I had a head wound, a suppressed immune system that left that aforementioned head wound extremely susceptible to infection, and i could barely walk without a wheelchair within reach.

I got a decked out PC that lasted a good 7 years without needing an upgrade (other than OS). A ton of games and best buy gift cards. It allowed me to escape a lot of the horrible realities of my BMT. thenewestboom

43. Get it Together Biebs

My sister had a wish to meet Justin Bieber and they had to decline that one because It was around the time when he first got arrested racing drunk or something like that so the next thing was Disney in Florida for a week and probably a better experience just really hot. GiftedHancok

42. Dogs Save Lives! 

My younger brother (9 at the time) was terminally Ill and too unwell to travel anywhere. He ended up asking for a dog, which they paid for including all vaccinations/bedding etc.

The dogs name is harry, and although my brother has since passed, harry continues to have a special place in our lives and is a very loved dog. Alpaca-toast

41. The Hulk

My friend was a wish kid (leukemia) in the early 90s and met Hulk Hogan because he wasn't creepy back then. Friend has no regrets on the choice as he still thinks it was a rad experience and still enjoys "wrestling."

My nephew was a wish kid but is non-verbal so my brother in law hijacked the wish and they did Bengals spring training and got lots of autographs and special treatment and merch. My brother in law acted like the whole thing was for him, not my nephew. (Who is still alive, but no change in health). Horriblewifey

40 The Pull Through Effect

I once applied for Make-A-Wish for one of my young (she was 10) patients who had a terminal disease. She really really wanted a trip to Disneyland.

I rarely see her smile because she is always in pain. But when my specialist told her about the Make-A-Wish program that could grant her her wish, she showed us one of her very rare and sweet smiles.

But when I contacted the foundation, they refused her application because her condition was terminal and that they prioritized kids that were ill but not terminal as they were more likely to "pull through" from their illness with a bit of happiness. shorts_onfire

39. Shingle away the chance

I had the option for a wish when I was 12 but my parents wouldn't let me do it. I had a liver transplant at 8 months old, was on immunosuppressants until 12 when I got shingles and had to be hospitalized. While being treated for shingles they took me off my immunosuppressants and my body reacted well enough to stay off them. Im 23 now, and the only meds I take these days is for my crappy mental health, but I really can't complain. passerby010

38. One Ring to Rule Them All! 

My sister had a wish granted, we ended up going to New Zealand for 10 days. A limo drove us to the airport and we stayed in a cabin right next to the mountains.

We even did a Lord of the Rings private tour and saw many different sights over both islands. She has Spina Bifida and is doing great, I will always be in awe of how great Make a Wish was to us. It felt like we were in a dream. amlarson1111

37. A Cool Trip 

I was a recipient of a Make-A-Wish. I was a teen at the time and decided to do a shopping spree. They picked me up in a limo and gave me $3,000 tax free at the mall and then took me, my friends and my family to Benihana. It was a pretty cool experience, albeit maybe a little boring.

I still get Make-A-Wish newsletters and I saw one little boy went on a tour of a pickle factory! Pretty cool. LetsTron

36. Stone Cold Disney!

My boyfriend had cancer when he was just starting school, and when Make-A-Wish asked him what his wish was he said he wanted to meet Stone Cold Steve Austin. His mom, however convinced him to ask for a Disney Cruise, which he ended up loving just as much. littlemohican

35. A Group Effort

My sister was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma when she was 16. I was 13 and my younger brothers were 10 and 7. She chose a wish for the whole family. Being in CA, she opted for Disney Land. What still amazes me to this day is the attention to detail. We went to Disney Land, Knottsberry Farms, and Universal Studios. We had a limo pick us up from the hotel we stayed at and take us to different locations. Can you imagine how much fun that was for us as kids? We loved every minute of it. We got special treatment every place we went. I really can't say enough about what they did.

Another organization that deserves a shout-out is the Ronald McDonald house. We stayed there a lot when my sister was going through the radiation portion of her treatment. The kindness of the people that helped us there is just something I will never forget. We met so many other amazing families. There were lots of activities. I woke up really early one morning while we were there and I just wandered around the place a little aimlessly. I was so scared my sister wasn't going to recover. One of the employees saw me and sat with me. She made me hot chocolate. I remember telling her how scared I was and she held me while I cried.

Linda of the Palo Alto Ronald McDonald house, if you somehow ever read this, please know you made a big difference to a young scared girl and I've never forgotten it. It was 20 years ago and I still think about it all the time. My sister was successfully treated and is doing great. bettalovely

34. Some People Are Gross!

The only person I know who got a make-a-wish said that the woman who set it up came back a few years later and asked for the cost back because "you weren't supposed to survive."

Found out she no longer worked for MAW and just wanted to make a quick buck. Marysthrow

33. Come on Harry! 

I had a Make A Wish when I was about 12. Originally I wanted to meet Daniel Radcliffe as I loved Harry Potter. Turns out he didn't do stuff with Make A Wish. I was a bit disappointed, but my make a wish people recommended that I still do something related to Harry Potter. So somehow they managed to get me tickets to the premiere of the fifth Harry Potter movie in LA. It ended up being way cooler than just meeting Daniel would've been. There were two other Make A Wish kids who also came.

It was the coolest experience I've ever had. I got to walk down the red carpet, see the movie before everyone else, and I got to go to the after party where I met all the actors anyway! I unfortunately didn't get a picture with Daniel Radcliffe, he was moving around a lot and had a bunch of security, I just barely managed to get his autograph. But Rupert Grint was the sweetest person and happily took a picture with me. I can't say enough good things about Make A Wish, they gave me a truly once in a lifetime experience. StarThoughts

32. Wheels on the Water

My daughter's first wish wasn't possible. She loves to swim, so the wish was a pool. While that would have been possible, they use the same generic deck with each pool, and it wasn't wheelchair accessible. Since she is completely wheelchair bound, this wouldn't work. Thankfully, the second wish idea worked well. Since she can't really travel, she was treated like a queen at a local amusement park.

They had a parade in her honor, and we spent several wonderful days there. Her room is still covered in pictures from the experience. If she had been able to travel, we might have gone with a Spongebob related wish. She really lights up when she sees anything related to the show. She's also the reason I get every single Spongebob meme. CueOminousMusic37

31. Chewy is the Bestest! 

Just recently I went to Hollywood Studios in Orlando, FL. I saw this kid, maybe 7, meet Chewbacca with the biggest smile ever. I then saw his family and some cast members tearing up. He was a make-a-wish child. I've never felt so sorry and happy for somebody so much at the same time. I hope that little guy beat whatever he had. jordo56

30. Success Rate

Relevant: Participants in the Make-A-Wish program see a decreased rate of hospital visits. It really is a wonderful program.


29. Oh, Steve...

I remember reading that when he was alive Steve Irwin couldn't meet with Make a Wish kids because it made him so sad that he would be crying for weeks afterwards. sl1878

28. Ride like the Wind! 

I can't remember if this one was denied or not, but I had a friend with an inoperable brain tumor, and she wished to go on a motorcycle ride when she was ten. So naturally, everyone who had a motorcycle and could travel to her came and they had a huge procession of motorcycles going around the county. It was honestly amazing. She died a little less than a year later but she was so happy that day. sarifall2001

27. And these of Our Lives 

When I was 10 I was home from school a lot due to being sick. I had a daily routine of watching Price is Right, Passions, and Days of Our Lives.

I wanted to wish to meet the cast of Days of Our Lives; I went to Disney instead. Ms__Roboto

26. Coordination is Key!

My mom worked for make a wish. A little kid wanted to build a tree house in his front yard. Make a wish denied him for being too hard to coordinate. Juicebarr

25. A Jaunt across the Pond! 

I got to do a wish when I was 17. It was late 90's and one of the wishes I was considering was meeting Will Smith.

I ended up deciding to go to England after discussing it more with my parents. I wasn't talked out of it or made to do what they wanted as I always wanted to go England anyway.

They flew my mum, dad, sister and myself to London for the week. Got a free lunch at a Hard Rock Cafe (I was feeling unwell so just drank soft drink) and a personal tour of the Tower of London (this was great and something I appreciate far more in hindsight). Overall I'm really thankful for the experience. allergic_to_fire

24. The Best We Can Do! 

My friend worked with a local chapter and I have to say, the stories I've heard are amazing, the organization really makes a huge effort to honor every wish as best as possible.

The only ones I've heard she had to say no to are ones that are clearly from a family member instead of the kid. The other terrible situation is when the parents can't resolve their own problems and put them aside for their sick child. There was one situation where one parent wouldn't sign the forms needed to authorize a wish because they were so mad at the other parent. It was heartbreaking and terrible. Joessandwich

23. No Lives Taken

Obligatory not a worker or recipient but I read a story a while ago that a child was dying and wanted to go hunting before he died. Apparently Make a Wish has a rule where they don't deal with firearms so a bunch of hunters got together and took him on a hunting trip. Midnightoclock

22. The Basics

I did make-a-wish. I feel like my wish was super lame. I had to be 9 or 10 and I wished for a laptop it was before laptops were mainstream I guess. But my family was also pretty impoverished so it was a big deal to me, being the only kid with a computer at home. They didn't get me a laptop but as desk top instead. They also bought me adobe photoshop and a game I can't remember. It had a DVD player, when DVD's were barely coming out It was cool and I was able to get school work done.

I used it for a long time. My sister had a wish too, she was like 5 and got a limo ride to toys 'r us.

Should have gone to Disney though ...still haven't gone yet.

Also hi to all the fellow cancer kids of the past! jellypops555

21. Rock On

My buddy was dying in high school from cancer and wanted his band to open for Jimmy Eat World / Tenacious D / Weezer around 2001. He was told everyone was cool with it until it got to Rivers (Weezer singer) and he was told Rivers personally said no and shut the entire thing down. He got to hang with Incubus back stage at a show instead and told me he was sure Incubus had no idea why he was there. penguinrider

20. Out of Spite!

As a wish granter I do the part where we meet the child and the parent(s), and then as long as no one is a nasty person we get to actually grant the wish. Our central office staff are the lucky folks who have to track down the non-custodial parent and ask for their permission to grant the wish for the child. I am just a volunteer so the paid people do the extra challenging stuff like that.

I would hope they at least say something to make them re-evaluate their life for denying their child a wish, when that child not only has a life-threatening illness, but also clearly a not-so-happy family life on top of it all. Every single time I've had a non-custodial parent refuse its been because of spite towards the other parent. They don't want that parent getting a free trip or any benefit from the wish. Not to say there aren't other people who have had other reasons to decline, but that's sadly been the reason in my experience. KitsyLou

19. Fam, get it together! 

I'm a Volunteer Wish Granter and we recently had to turn down a wish to stay in a 5 star, over the water bungalow room, in the Maldives. It was really sad to have to turn the wish down however, MAW does ultimately have a budget for each kid and this one was going to exceed that budget by triple. We were able to send our wish kid to a similar exotic location and had them set up in an AirBnb for the week with a rental car and all turned out well.

One wish I was on was really sad. The wish kid wished to swim with dolphins so we were going to send the wish kid and the family to Hawaii for a week. However, the wish kid lived with grandparents as well as the parents and aunts and uncles in one house and there was a big rift in the family when the grandparents and aunts and uncles found out they weren't included to go to Hawaii. We ultimately had to do a local wish in its place and just have a day adventure with the wish kid, sibling, and parents. textmewhenyougethome

18. Not your time, people! 

Usually the wishes we had to say no to were from the kid's family members. There was always some uncle, grandma, cousin, sibling or parent who wanted to hijack the kid's wish. perroblanco

It's not the condition anymore right? I read from few other comments that nowadays they have a long chat with the kid to ensure that the wish is not influenced by parents or anyone else Lt_Frostbite

17. King Corey! Sammy Who?

A classmate of mine (now passed) got a meet and greet with Sammy Sosa. The understanding from the Make a Wish people was that Sammy would sign autographs and sit with the family for a while. Now, this kid was ALL ABOUT SAMMY. He had his jerseys, loved Sammy's little leaps after home runs, and even was big into Pepsi because of Sammy too.

When the day came, Sammy showed up late. He didn't respond when the family greeted him (it was described as a sullen silence) signed a glove and then walked away.

My classmate started crying once it was clear Sammy was not going to come back. Right when the parents were about to leave another baseball player named Corey Patterson saw my classmate, came up, signed everything they had, and talked and joked around with the family for over a half hour. Corey became my classmates favorite player that day - and I think he lived perhaps a year after that moment.

At his funeral my classmates' picture with Corey was one of the prominent pictures - that moment and day truly, truly meant the world to him (he was around 10-11, iirc)

To this day I'm unsure if someone from Make a Wish found Corey or if the moment was as spontaneous as it was described to me, but no matter what Corey will always have a special place in my heart because of that story. ArbyLG

16. Why Harry, Why?!


I received a wish when I was 15. At that time I was madly in love with Harry Styles and of course wanted to use my wish to meet him and spend the day with him. After telling the wish coordinator this she broke the news to me that if I were to meet him it would be a year from then, with about 15 other kids for a VERY brief moment (a hello and a photo). Upon hearing that disappointing news I changed my wish and instead went to Australia for 10 days with my family and swam in the Great Barrier Reef. courtneywtf

15. Thanks for nothing, Japan... 

My little brother has had 2 heart transplants so far and will probably get another before it's all said and done. His wish was to go to Nintendo. Well Nintendo Japan doesn't grant wishes, but Nintendo of America does. He stayed in Seattle for a few days and had a day long tour of Nintendo. Unfortunately Reggie wasn't in the office that day but the Treehouse staff led him around all day. This was right before the Switch came out so he got to play Breath of the Wild before anyone. They gave him a sweet goodie bag and let him go on a shopping spree in the employee store. NeylandSensei

14. Never stop at "No!" 

This isn't my personal story, but of my uncle who passed away shortly after I was born.

He loved The Terminator so much that he wanted nothing more than to meet Arnold Schwarzenegger. Due to having a busy schedule, Arnold's agent had to deny him of his wish a couple of times (was filming for the 2nd Terminator).

My uncle was so determined to meet Arnold that he then changed his wish to meeting Maria Shriver (Arnold's wife).

Because of his determination he was allowed on set of Terminator 2: Judgement Day. He got to meet Arnold, Maria, and Arnold's stunt double. My mom still has the pictures and it makes my heart soar.

Make-A-Wish is fantastic and I'm so glad my uncle got to live out his dream. :) keish_

13. Who needs the Oscars?

I've been the recipient and later on after my health improved I volunteered as a wish coordinator.

My original wish was to attend the Oscars. That got denied by the Academy as they do not grant wishes. I wound up going to the People's Choice Awards as a VIP. Make-a-Wish flew my family to LA for a week, all expenses paid. They got us a limo for the show, paid for my dress, hair, and make up, we walked the red carpet, and were seated very close to the stage. It was a once in a lifetime experience. The generosity of the volunteers is remarkable. They even had someone greet us at the airport on arrival. It was extremely important to me that my brother and sister were included in my wish because my illness had robbed them of part of their childhoods. I am forever indebted to everyone who made my wish possible.

When I turned 18 I decided to volunteer as a wish coordinator to give back to an organization that did so much for me. I met with wish kids and their families. We would always arrive with a gift for all the children in the family based on a little survey they filled out. We'd talk with the child and help define their wish. It's important to determine the child's true wish, and make sure that it isn't influenced by parents. The most common wish is to go to Disney.

Celebrity meet and greets are the ones that often can be turned down. First, because it is undefined what a meet and greet is ... it could be the child literally waving at someone and no one wants that, and second because not all celebrities grant wishes or can schedule time to meet wish kids. The coolest wish I worked on was a shopping spree for a boy who was confined to his room. He got 7k to go buy video games, TVs, a tricked out lazy boy, etc for the ultimate gaming setup. nan_adams

12. Safety First! 

My parents were wish coordinators for over a decade. They usually did rush wishes where the child wasn't expected to live more than a few days or weeks.

The last wish they did, the child wanted to ride on a tractor. He had only days left. My parents were friends with a local farmer and had an entire day set-up. Make-a-Wish denied the wish due to liability issues (the kid might fall off the tractor). He died before they could grant another wish and my parents never volunteered again. subjackie

11. Not always great ideas


When I was a baby until I was 5 I had cancer and got some wishes. My first wish was for a computer. I only wanted a computer because it came with a mouse. Yes, I thought it came with a real mouse. So obviously it was rejected because you can't have pets when you basically live in a hospital and my family was broke as f**k anyway so they couldn't give us a pet.

I ended up getting some dope googly eye glasses and an epic trip to Disney World. It was the only family vacation we ever got to go on. meowtain-os

10. Don't Get Crazy! 

My mom became a Wish Granter shortly after my son went on his Make-A-Wish trip. She's done many wishes and has even been Wish Granter of the Year for her region a couple times. The only one that was a flat out no was one recipient asked who asked for a boob job.

Other than that, wishes for new cars are always a no but Make-A-Wish will basically 'pimp out' a car already owned by the recipient. Other than that, she's been a Wish Granter for everything from trips to shopping sprees to even being on an episode of Fixer Upper where she was Wish Granter for two boys who wanted an accessible playground in their backyard. doodle_flapsv

9. Nobama! 

My daughter is a wish kid. She wished to go to DC and meet the President (Obama). She did get to go to DC but didn't get to meet the President, which is just as well since he wasn't in office anymore by the time we went. She still got a great trip though, we met our Representative in his office and got go out on the floor of the House which is apparently not very common. Mister_E_Phister

8. Karma

I got to have mine granted in 1999 when I was 8. I wanted to see my two favorite baseball players, Mark McGwire and Chipper Jones play. Make-A-Wish set up everything. Hotel, tickets to the game for my whole family, and even tickets to Six Flags. Before the first game they brought us down for batting practice. Got to meet the whole Braves lineup.

Didn't meet a single player from the Cardinals, and we were told McGwire specifically declined the request. Braves won that game. I feel karma paid off too. Braves made it to the World Series, Chipper won MVP and is now a Hall of Famer. McGwire would later get marked for using steroids, will not make the Hall of Fame, and Cardinals finished under 0.500. Tsquared10

7. Challenge Accepted!


I'm told that I was very sarcastic even at a young age.

When they told me I could wish for whatever I wanted, I thought I could think of something impossible: A big brick house so the big bad wolf can't blow it down.

Make-A-Wish people said they had ran out of bricks granting their last wish. They handed me a catalogue of playhouses to choose from. I defiantly flipped immediately to the back and poked one at random before probably returning to my Studio Ghibli movie.

And that is the story of how Make-A-Wish built me a two-story playhouse with heating/air/electricity.

I'm so glad they ran out of bricks. HillaryBoobPhD

6. Not getting played 

I worked in music for a few years, and we had to turn down wishes when the artist refused to do it.

I used to hate them for it... and then one day I had a really long talk with a (still) major international rock star who used to do it, but then stopped.

He said that at first it was awesome because he was making kids so happy, but after a while it just got too depressing... all he could thing about was the trail of dead kids he was leaving behind him.

He also had multiple experiences where the kid didn't even knew he be was, but one or both of the parents were creaming their pants... or stuff he signed for the kid would end up on eBay the next day etc. hokeyWB


This doesn't answer your question, but I had cancer when I was three and apparently had been approached by Make-A-Wish. Unfortunately I was only three and too young to actually make a reasonable wish so the wish fell to my parents.... they asked for furniture. FURNITURE! monie_25

4. The Dog House 

Word so when I was 15 I got to make a Wish. My Uncle really pushed to ask to meet Tiger Woods & play golf with him. I wasn't into that. Neither were my cervical tumors. I was getting better & I knew I was going to be ok. I told the Wish peeps that I wanted to bow out but they were pushy. Right in front of my Mom, I said I wanted to smoke weed with Snoop Dog and wouldn't accept any other Wish. That got shut down. I'm fine & 34 now. Nightmare_Moons

3. This isn't about you, mom! 

I was offered a wish by the make-a-wish foundation, my mom said to give it to someone who needed it. I still remember them trying to talk to me while I was in a wheelchair and my mom saying, "she doesn't need it, give it to someone who does."

My mom used to get teary eyed when she bragged about it to me and strangers. Now that I bring it up to her, she miraculously can't remember it. borderlinesweet

2. What Happened Taylor?!

My daughter was granted a wish. She really wanted to meet Taylor Swift and see her in concert, but Taylor was not touring at the time, so we (her parents) kiboshed that wish. She was not healthy enough to enjoy a long concert and I didn't want her to postpone her wish since we weren't sure if, or how long, she might live. In the end, she chose to go the Sea World resort in Florida and swim with the dolphins.

She ended up being scared to death of them and refused to even go in the water! Make a Wish sent us to Universal while we were there too and she had fun. That was six years ago, and she is now in remission. We took her to a Taylor Swift concert this last summer and I think she enjoyed it way more than she would have six years ago. peachykorey

1. Magic Mike 


A friend from school wanted to meet The Chippendales. She was 13. It was 1989. Australian Make A Wish weren't really happy about that. Her second choice was to see snow. They sent her family to Canada. Whilstler, I think. She loved it.smc642


I have many ideas for wishes if I were in that situation. Thankfully I haven't had to be. How about y'all?

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