For many children with critical illnesses, gaming offers an escape from the physical, mental and emotional toll that their medical journey can have. Streamlabs is a valuable partner with Make-A-Wish and has raised more than $50,000 in the past two years through gamers who stream live to help grant life-changing wishes.
In recent years, Make-A-Wish has seen a substantial increase in wishes for computer- and gaming-related equipment and experiences. From 2018 to 2022, these wish requests increased a whopping 317 percent.
One of those wishes came from 16-year-old Warner Anderson. At first, his parents thought his painful symptoms were due to school-induced stress, but eventually, Warner was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Suddenly, Warner was thrown into cancer treatment that went on for months. His normal teenage life became a flurry of hospital stays, doctor visits, and extreme stress for him and his entire family.
“He’d just turned 16 and was gearing up for what we all had hoped would be his best year yet,” Warner’s mom, Jessica, said. “He had started driving and was loving high school — but cancer quickly stripped all of that away.”
A few months into treatment, Warner’s nurse referred him for a wish and immediately renewed Warner’s excitement for something he previously loved: gaming. For Warner, researching what he would want in a new gaming computer became a crucial distraction while enduring difficult treatments, Jessica said. Warner’s ability to focus on something positive meant everything to him, and he looked forward to connecting with friends online once his wish came true.
“Make-A-Wish gives kids hope when there’s not a lot of hope in their life,” Jessica said. “When your child is in treatment, distractions are key. The reality of treatment is too heavy for anyone to bear. If you face the reality, you can crumble. But for your child to have something to focus on besides being sick, that’s just so important.”
The Life-Changing Impact of a Wish
Having granted more than 520,000 wishes for children with critical illnesses worldwide since 1980, Make-A-Wish staff, volunteers and supporters have heard wish families state time and time again that their wish changed their lives. Recently, Make-A-Wish released new research in the form of the 2022 Wish Impact Study that provides quantitative data to lend credibility to the anecdotal feedback heard regularly from wish families.
The powerful results of the study add to a growing body of research demonstrating how wish-fulfillment promotes mental and emotional well-being for children and their families who are facing trauma stemming from a critical illness; and:
- Was a necessary part of the medical treatment journey, improved the odds of survival, provided a support system and better health outcomes, and gave the child a better chance of recovering from their critical illness.
- Increased hope, strength, joy, confidence, self-esteem, quality of life, and well-being.
- Served as a coping mechanism and a turning point during treatment.
- Brought families closer together and strengthened relationships with loved ones.
- Helped overcome traumatic stress, hopelessness, depression, and loneliness.
To learn more about the 2022 Wish Impact Study and find out how you can get involved with Make-A-Wish, visit wish.org.
Make-A-Wish creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., Make-A-Wish is the world’s leading children’s wish-granting organization, operating in every community in the United States and in nearly 50 countries worldwide. Together with generous donors, supporters, staff, and more than 24,000 volunteers across the U.S., Make-A-Wish delivers hope and joy to children and their families when they need it most. Make-A-Wish aims to bring the power of wishing to every child with a critical illness because wish experiences can help improve emotional and physical health. Since 1980, Make-A-Wish has granted more than 520,000 wishes worldwide; more than 350,000 wishes in the U.S. and its territories alone. For more information about Make-A-Wish America, visit wish.org.