Is there a Make a Wish for adults? The answer might surprise you! Although the Make a Wish Foundation specializes in helping children, there are other organizations and charities that help adults as well!
In this article, we’ll introduce you to around 20 wish-granting organizations that serve adults. We’ll talk about who is eligible for these services and how you can apply.
Don’t forget to check out our list of wish-granting organizations for children as well, since many providers on that list serve young adults between the ages of 18 and 21 as well.
Make a Wish for Adults with Terminal Diagnoses
Each of the organizations in our list set their own criteria. Some serve people with all diagnoses, others are specific to certain states or certain conditions. This part of our list is for organizations that serve people with any terminal or life-limiting diagnosis.
The Dream Foundation is an organization that works like a Make a Wish for adults. This organization serves anyone over the age of 18 who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
The wishes fulfilled by this organization can be small and simple (like a dinner out with your family) or elaborate (like a trip to Orlando theme parks). They can also help you buy items that would improve your quality of life at home, such as a new TV or laptop computer.
There are some limitations, of course. For example, the Dream Foundation does not coordinate cruises, offer legal assistance, arrange hunting trips, or international travel.
In order to be eligible for a Dream, you must meet the following guidelines:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must live in the United States (including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico).
- You must be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
- You must have a life expectancy that is 12 months or less.
- You must be unable to afford the Dream on your own.
If you meet the criteria, you can apply on the Dream Foundation website. You will need to choose the right application, since there are special applications for veterans and those on hospice.
James Bess Foundation
The James Bess Foundation provides Final Dreams for adults who are battling terminal illnesses. The dreams can be travel or experience based, as long as you are able to safely travel and a doctor approves your participation.
In order to be eligible for a dream from the James Bess Foundation, you must meet these requirements:
- You must live in the United States.
- You must be between 21 – 65 years old.
- You must be diagnosed with a terminal illness.
- You must have a diagnosed life expectancy of less than 18 months.
To apply, download the application and carefully review the instructions.
Specific Wishes Only
Some organizations can help certain dreams come true. If your wish aligns with their mission, then these organizations might be able to help!
Cameron Siemers Foundation for Hope
This organization provides a Life Grant of up to $5,000 to eligible young adults who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. In order to qualify, you must be between 18 and 30 years old.
The Life Grant can be used to do anything that will make a difference in your life and the lives of others. This could include writing a book, producing a CD, starting a business, launching a product, or travelling on a goodwill mission.
You can download the application on the Cameron Siemers Foundation website.
Do It For the Love
Do It For the Love focuses on connecting people with meaningful live music experiences. They can provide up to four event tickets to a live music wish in the United States or Canada. Certain events may be limited to two tickets. They try to coordinate meet-and-greet encounters but those aren’t guaranteed.
This organization serves children and adults who are living with a life-threatening illness. They also serve wounded veterans.
You can apply online.
United Special Sportsman Alliance Inc.
This organization offers free outdoor adventures for critically ill or disabled youth, adults and veterans! If you get a trophy fish or game animal on your adventure, USSA may be able to help you with free mounting from their network of taxidermists as well.
If travel is required, USSA may be able to help finance or subsidize your travel expenses. However, they ask that you contribute if you can so that they can grant more wishes for other people too.
In order to be eligible for an outdoor wish from USSA, you just need to be someone in the United States who has a life-threatening illness or a disability.
You can apply on the USSA website.
Wish Upon a Wedding
When a couple is faced with a terminal illness or life-altering medical condition, it can destroy their finances and leave them emotionally exhausted. Even those who desperately want a wedding may be unable to afford it or even think about it.
If that sounds painfully familiar, Wish Upon a Wedding can help. They help provide free weddings for couples who are afflicted with terminal diagnoses or life-changing health circumstances. Their wishes can cover Sunday through Thursday weddings with a guestlist of up to 50 people. They’ll also cover the wedding planner, venue, catering, photographer, videographer, beauty services, DJ, officiant, linens, attire and stationary. It’s incredible!
Apply online using their Wish Request Application.
Make a Wish for Adults with Cancer
The nonprofits in this section help adults who have been diagnosed with cancer. They can help you make your dreams come true!
Dear Jack Foundation
The Dear Jack Foundation serves adolescents and young adults who have been diagnosed with cancer. They have several helpful programs, including one called LifeList that is similar to a Make a Wish for adults.
The LifeList program can grant wishes up to a total of $2,000. This program does not award gift cards, cash or direct financial assistance for bills. Their goal is to help you fulfill a wish. Past wishes include celebrity meetings, attending sporting events, getting a Nintendo Switch, and travelling to family reunions.
In order to be eligible for LifeList, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be between the ages of 18 and 39.
- You must be within one year of your primary cancer diagnosis.
- You must have recently experienced a relapse of primary cancer or a secondary cancer diagnosis.
- You must be enrolled in a clinical trial where standard treatments have proven unsuccessful.
If you meet those criteria, then you can apply for this program. Applications are open for one week each quarter. That means you can only apply during one week every three months, so it’s important to know when those applications will be opened again. You can find the schedule and application on the Dear Jack Foundation website.
In addition to the LifeList program, the Dear Jack Foundation also offers free Mental Wellness Boxes and four-day Breathe Now Wellness Retreats for survivors and their partners.
Giuliana Rancic’s Fab-u-Wish
The Fab-u-Wish program serves women who have been affected by breast cancer. This program offers four categories of wishes: beauty, fashion, home goods and decoration, or experiences. Due to limited funding and an overwhelming number of applications, the organization does not fulfill vacation-related wishes at this time.
In order to be eligible for help from Fab-u-Wish, you must meet these requirements:
- You must live in the United States.
- You must be undergoing active treatment for breast cancer (or have completed treatment in the last 12 months).
If you would like to request a wish, fill out the request form on The Pink Agenda website.
Nikolas Ritschel Foundation
Nikolas Ritschel was diagnosed with cancer just before his 18th birthday. His wish from the Make a Wish Foundation meant the world to him and he was heartbroken when he found out that young adults over the age of 18 did not qualify. His last wish, the night before cancer claimed his life, was to make sure that other young adults could have a wish too.
His namesake foundation serves young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 years old who have been diagnosed with cancer.
Due to limited funding, applications are not always available. Even if applications are closed, you can have someone on your medical team submit an application or you can request to be added to the waitlist. Just follow the instructions on the Nik’s Wish website.
Stella’s Wish Foundation
Stella’s Wish Foundation awards 2-3 wishes every month from their list of applications. You can submit your wish again if it isn’t selected.
In order to be eligible from Stella’s Wish, you must have been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. You can apply on behalf of a loved one who has received this diagnosis.
You can submit your wish request on the Stella’s Wish website.
Make a Wish for Parents
Some of the organizations that offer wish-granting for adults focus on serving parents.
Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation
This organization plans WOW! Experiences for families who are affected by cancer. Their goal is to create unforgettable memories for children (under age 18) who will lose a parent to cancer. Their WOW! Experiences may include cruises, sporting events, theme park trips and more.
This foundation only accepts referrals from oncologists. If you want to participate in a WOW! experience, you will need to ask your oncology team to refer you.
One Day to Remember
Parents who are raising a child while also battling advanced-stage cancer may be able to get help from One Day to Remember. The goal of this organization is to help you have a perfect day with your family.
A professional photographer will help capture your memories and turn them into a photobook keepsake. Each child who participates in your Day will receive a journal, as well.
If you are able to go into town, this program will help you plan a day of activities that your family can enjoy together. The adventure must take place within a two-hour drive of your home. This will include meals, transportation, and a professional photo session. They take care of all the planning so you don’t have to worry about it.
If you can’t go into town, they will bring the adventure home to you. They can arrange for delivery from your favorite restaurant and plan a family activity at home instead.
In order to be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must live in the United States.
- You must be diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer.
- You must have at least one child that is age 18 or under.
You can apply on the One Day to Remember website.
Wishing for Mommy
This organization helps children take action when their mother is struggling with a breast cancer diagnosis. Recognizing that children often feel powerless in these situations, this organization invites children to apply on behalf of their mothers. The children are then awarded $500 to help that child make a difference in their mother’s life.
In order to be eligible, the child must be under age 18 and must nominate their mother or step-mother. The mother must be diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing active treatment (or have completed active treatment within the last 24 months). An adult can help with the application process.
The application period for this program opens in May and closes in December every year. You can find the application instructions on the Wishing for Mommy website.
Make a Wish for Adults in Certain Areas
There are some organizations that only offer wishes to people who live in certain areas. This is often due to funding restrictions.
Ally’s Wish (Texas Only)
Ally’s Wish provides wishes to young, terminally ill mothers who are still raising small children. The goal is to create a lasting family memory that will bring comfort to all the members of the family.
This organization has sent moms to Hawaii to swim with dolphins, to Florida to visit Disney World, and on cruises. They’ve helped families build treehouses and so much more. The value of the wish cannot exceed $5,000.
In order to be eligible for help from Ally’s Wish, you need to match these criteria:
- You must be a US citizen currently living in the US.
- You must have at least one child under the age of 18.
- You must be diagnosed with a terminal illness.
- You must be diagnosed as Stage 4 or terminal. You cannot be participating in a clinical trial.
- You cannot have received a wish from another organization.
You can apply or refer a mom using the Ally’s Wish form.
An Elderly Wish Foundation (Contra Costa County, CA)
This organization serves a very specific group of people in a very small geographic area. They have granted specific wishes for eligible seniors, such as new wheel chairs, special birthday dinners, or trips to local destinations.
In order to be eligible, you much match these guidelines:
- You must live in Contra Costa County, California.
- You must be at least 50 years old.
- You must be diagnosed with a serious or chronic illness.
If you meet the requirements, you can contact the organization for application instructions.
DreamCatcher Foundation (Hospice Only)
The DreamCatcher Foundation partners with hospice care providers to identify Dreamers. They provide a wish-fulfillment service for those who are eligible but it is not entirely clear what the eligibility requirements are or how it works.
Since they rely on a network of hospice providers to find eligible patients, I would recommend reaching out to your hospice care provider and see if they work with DreamCatcher Foundation. You can also contact the foundation for more information.
Eternal Wish Foundation (Wisconsin Only)
The Eternal Wish Foundation provides experiences for eligible people with a life-threatening disability or terminal illness. Some of their previously granted wishes include a celebrity meet-and-greet with Kenny Chesney and tickets to a Duke Basketball Game.
This organization will only consider applications that are submitted by a physician on a patient’s behalf. You can ask your provider to complete the application on the Eternal Wish website.
The Angel Foundation (Ohio Only)
The Angel Foundation serves terminally-ill adults in Ohio. This organization can help with many different types of wishes, but the wishes currently featured on their website all involved travel to sporting events, Florida, or New York.
In order to be eligible for help from The Angel Foundation, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must live in Ohio.
- You must have a terminal diagnosis.
- You must have a life expectancy that is one year or less.
To get started, click the big blue Request a Wish button on the Angel Foundation website.
Infinite Wishes Foundation (Florida & New Jersey Only)
The Infinite Wishes Foundation serves adults between the ages of 18 and 65 who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. They only serve residents of New Jersey and full-time residents of Florida at this time.
Wishes granted by this organization may include an evening out to dinner, tickets to an event, a trip to visit friends or family, or a vacation to a Florida or New Jersey destination that is within their partnership network.
Contact the Foundation to start your application process.
Senior Wishes (NY Only)
Senior Wishes provides wishes for seniors. They focus on granting wishes that will make a big impact on your quality of life or happiness. You don’t even need a medical diagnosis to apply for a wish!
The wishes granted by this organization include travel to a hometown, reconnecting with a loved one, celebrating a passion, or engaging in an old hobby. Lifelong dreams like riding in a hot air balloon, going to a ballgame or learning a new skill may also be granted.
In order to be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be a US citizen.
- You must be at least 65 years old.
- You must live in Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans or Wyoming County in New York.
- You must have an annual household income that is less than $38,000 for a single person or $44,000 for a couple. If you are a permanent resident of a care facility, that counts too.
- You must be cognitively, emotionally, and physically capable of communicating and experiencing the wish.
- You must be unable to fulfill the wish on your own or with help from your family.
To get started, complete the wish application on the Senior Wishes website.
Wish Granters (SW Idaho)
Wish Granters serves terminally ill adults and caregivers who live in the Boise, Idaho area. Their service area is limited to Ada, Canyon and Gem Counties. They hope to expand into other counties in the future, though.
In order to be eligible for help from Wish Granters, you must meet these guidelines:
- You must be over 18 years old.
- You must live in Ada, Canyon or Gem Counties.
- You must be diagnosed with a non-age-related terminal illness.
Some of the wishes granted by this organization include accessibility or mobility supplies, flights, family nights, fancy dates with limo services, themed parties, and more.
Before you can fill out an application, you must submit a wish referral form.
Other Helpful Services
Although these programs aren’t exactly like Make a Wish for adults, they do offer help for people who have received critical or terminal diagnoses. I wanted to include them here because you may still find them useful.
If you have a life-limiting illness, Memories Live may be able to help you create a free legacy movie.
The process is very simple. They will email you a standard list of questions and conversation starters, but you can also create your own. You’ll either record in-person or virtually. Memories Live will then edit the footage, break it into chapters, and include a slideshow of your personal photos. The final product will be sent to you over email.
If you don’t want to appear on camera, you can choose to do an audio recording instead. The goal is to give you and your family something to cherish.
Use the Contact form on the Memories Live website to get started.
Wigs & Wishes
Although Wigs & Wishes only grants wishes to children, they offer free wigs to cancer fighters of all ages. You can use the form on their website to find the closest salon in your area. You’ll attend a consultation, order a wig and attend a fitting.
Get started by using the form on the Wigs & Wishes website.
If you are dealing with a terminal illness or life-limiting medical condition, you may be eligible for a once-in-a-lifetime dream experience from these wish-granting organizations. It’s like Make a Wish for adults! Each program sets their own eligibility requirements and each one has different limitations on their wishes, so carefully consider all of your options on this list before applying.