PHOENIX, April 30, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Make-A-Wish® – the global organization that creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses – is thrilled to announce a Guinness World Record title achievement of being named the Largest wish-granting non-profit organization. Since the creation of the organization in 1980, Make-A-Wish has granted nearly 450,000 wishes to children with critical illnesses around the world. Incredibly, a wish is granted every 17 minutes globally with the help of more than 40,000 volunteers and countless donors. Last year alone, Make-A-Wish granted more than 30,000 wishes to children from 62 chapters located in the U.S. and its territories, as well as 41 international affiliates serving more than 50 countries worldwide.
"Make-A-Wish is proud to be named a Guinness World Records title holder for the Largest wish-granting organization in the world," said David Williams, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America. "This designation recognizes so many people who have worked tirelessly over the years to grant life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. While it marks a great milestone for us, it also serves as a strong reminder that there is much work ahead to grant the wish of every eligible child."
Even though Make-A-Wish has earned a Guinness World Records title for the Largest wish-granting organization, the organization is currently only halfway to its vision of granting the wish of every eligible child. Today 1 out of every 2 eligible kids receive a wish, the majority of whom go on to beat their illness. This includes 45-year old Tiffany Rowe, who this month is celebrating the 30th anniversary of her wish to meet Michael Jackson. Tiffany was the first wish child elected to the Make-A-Wish America National Board of Directors and today serves as the Chair of the Make-A-Wish National Board Alumni Association.
The Guinness World Records title announcement comes after a month-long celebration leading up to the April 29th celebration of World Wish Day. Make-A-Wish hosted a campaign with the theme: "Wishes take muscle." Throughout April, the organization granted more than 1,800 wishes around the globe and focused on the fact that a wish can give kids the mental strength to fight their illness. The campaign also honored the donors, doctors, volunteers and other supporters who, together, lend their muscle – whether it be their time, energy or resources – to make wishes possible.
The campaign included a brand-new PSA that was developed in partnership with TBWA\Chiat\Day LA aimed at granting as many wishes as possible both in front of the camera, and during the production process. The PSA stars Make-A-Wish kids, including a superhero, marine and superstar showing off the emotional, psychological and physical muscle they gained from their wish experience. The wish kids appear alongside WWE® Superstar John Cena, who has granted more than 580 wishes, which is greater than any other person. Celebrity wish granters Johnny Depp – whose support through wish granting and fundraising at studio premieres and movie screenings spans 30 years – Steve Harvey, a longtime wish granter, and multiplatinum recording artist and actress, Becky G lent their voices to PSAs in the series as well. The PSA effort, the largest production in Make-A-Wish history, would not have been possible without significant in-kind resources donated by more than 100 supporters organized by TBWA\Chiat\Day LA and the support of WWE. The PSA was filmed in Hollywood, Calif. at Universal Studios Hollywood, a long-time supporter of Make-A-Wish.
Also in April, Make-A-Wish challenged people around the world to participate in the #ArmWrestleChallenge, a fun, family-friendly social media competition that encouraged people to show their muscle to raise awareness and funds for the organization. With the help of WWE Superstar John Cena, this challenge has seen participants such as YouTube duo Rhett and Link; chef, Guy Fieri; the Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo; photographer, Nigel Barker; WWE Superstars Dana Brooke, Brie Bella, Sheamus and Cesaro; actress, Lilly Singh and many more.
World Wish Day illustrates the imperative role a wish plays in a child's medical treatment. Research shows a wish can help kids build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight a critical illness. Continue the World Wish Day celebration, lend muscle and change lives for the better.
Learn more at wish.org/worldwishday.