What to Know
- More than 75 percent of wish requests to Make-A-Wish require a travel component for their experiences.
- On Thursday, Jan. 16, NBC Connecticut and Telemundo Connecticut will be helping wishes come true. Make-A-Wish will be accepting donations of unused airline miles, as well as monetary contributions.
- From 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, viewers can call 855-622-2830 to make donations. You can also go online now to contribute.
This Thursday, NBC CT viewers can help make the dreams of local children come true and change their lives forever.
NBC Connecticut and Telemundo Connecticut are partnering with Make-A-Wish Connecticut for the seventh year to host the "Miles for Smiles" campaign. On Thursday, viewers can donate unused airlines miles to help the organization grant wishes to local children.
Make-A-Wish grants a wish every 34 minutes for a child with a critical illness in the United States.
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“My god, I had so much fun. Like, I want to go back. I really do,” said Sheika-Lee Palmer.
RELATED CONTENT: Miles for Smiles Returns Thursday
Teenager Sheika-Lee of Hartford still lights up when asked about her visit to South Korea as part of a granted wish. The trip had been a dream and just looking forward to it helped brighten her days as she battled bone cancer.
“Instead of me being all gloomy and stuff, I was always happy,” Palmer said.
“This year more than 75 percent of wish kids will travel for their wish experiences," Make-A-Wish Connecticut Marketing, Communications & Digital Manager Carin Buckman said. "Make-A-Wish needs 2.9 billion air miles to provide travel for wish kids and their families every year. Your donated airline miles can offset thousands of dollars in air travel expenses by using those miles to purchase flights for wish kids and their families. Plus, once your miles are donated and transferred to Make-A-Wish, they will not expire for the organization. Ever.”
In addition to collecting miles, our goal is to also raise $10,000 - the cost of granting a wish.
"It was just unbelievable that I could go to Disney," said wish recipient Mia Vasquez.
The Impact of a Granted Wish
A granted wish can make a lifelong impact on a wish kid.
Make-A-Wish said granted wishes can also have an impact on a child's physical health, in addition to supporting the children's emotional well-being. A 2015 study from Nationwide Children's Hospital found that patients who were granted a wish "were more likely to have fewer unplanned hospital and emergency department visits."
Wishes can also have a positive impact on the child's family at a time when they are dealing with a serious illness by giving them support and hope.
"It gives them something to look forward to and to get their mind off going to the doctors and getting more blood work done," Vasquez said.
Last year, thanks to your generous donations, we collected more than three million miles for Make-A-Wish Connecticut.
"NBC and Telemundo Connecticut are proud to present Miles for Smiles in support of Make-A-Wish Connecticut for the seventh year," said Diane Hannes, President and General Manager of NBC Connecticut and Telemundo Connecticut. "With the support of our loyal viewers, we are able to make local children’s wishes come true. Connecting to our local communities and these very special children is a priority for our station and employees and we are looking forward to another successful year!"
NBC Connecticut and Telemundo Connecticut anchors and reporters will be answering phones at the Miles for Smiles phone bank helping take donation information throughout the day.
"We come into a kid's life when they are having a really tough, tough time...We get the photos after their trips, or even during their trips, and it's so exciting to see these bright, infectious smiles," said Pam Keough, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish Connecticut. "Not only do I see the smile on their face but I see it on their parent's face and their sibling's face, so it really is infectious."
2020 Miles for Smiles Participating Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
How to Donate to Miles for Smiles
From 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on January 16, viewers can call 855-622-2830 to make a monetary or airline mile contribution.