UnNews:Make A Wish orders cancer survivor to pay up

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31 January 2010
NEW YORK, New York -- On a brisk November evening a gaunt little boy named Timothy enters the New York Rangers' locker room, after having spent the day attending practice and team-warm ups. During the game, which the Rangers lost 2-8 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Timothy rides on the Zamboni. After the game he gets to participate in the press conference and get autographs from the Rangers and even some warm-hearted Penguins. Timothy is a small boy, with no hair left, because he has spent a year battling cancer. As a terminally ill child, Timothy has been granted this wish by the Make a Wish Foundation an organization that operates with the support of many celebrities, and grants wishes to children stricken with the tragedy of a terminal illness.

Why I oughta!

This event was over three years ago. While the Rangers have not gotten any better, Timothy has. Due to medical breakthroughs and sheer force of will little Timothy has beaten his cancer into remission as of one year ago. The day Timothy was well enough to return to school was a joyous day for his parents.

When the New York Rangers found out Timothy was in remission, they invited him back for a game, and welcomed him onto the ice. Timothy was even well enough to join the Little Rangers Jr. Hockey Team.

Life was good, that is until Make a Wish Foundation found out that Timothy had made a full recovery. Several weeks after Timothy arrived at the Rangers game, his parents began receiving bills from Make a Wish. The first bill was small, a Rangers hat, they payed the bill and thought nothing of it. Then the bill for the autographed jersey arrived - over $6,000. Then an even larger bill arrived, which included the wages for workers who volunteer for the organization, as well as a limo ride, and hotel stay. Timothy and his family did not even take a limo to the arena, nor did the Long Island family stay in a hotel. Timothy's family was appalled. How could a charity expect the family, already strapped with medical bills, to pay back what was supposed to be a gift?

That is where the terms and conditions of Make a Wish come into play - the wishes are for terminally ill children. Few if any people read the forms before signing, but in the fine print, it states that if your child turns out to not be terminal, or lives into adult hood you must repay the wish's full value. If your child becomes no longer terminally ill, or lives past 18, you are responsible for the full value.

While this kind of charitable Indian giving[1] has been occurring for decades, no one has taken a stand against Make a Wish. (A similar scandal broke recently, where charitable, yet vain, people donated hair to Locks of Love only to find out that children are charged for the wigs, and cannot receive one as a donation unless a donor pays for it.)

The price of survival

Faced with bills in excess of $50,000 Timothy's family took up a collection to pay off Make a Wish. Many other families have had this happen to them, and not all have had such rational responses. In June of 2009 little Jill Schroeder was found dead, in her bed, of suffocation. While her parents were never indicted, the family, which has 5 other children, had been billed $650,000 by Make a Wish, after the entire family was flown to California to meet Miley Cyrus - who charges $75,000 for a single public appearance - and appear in a mediocre movie with her. Make a Wish, had charged the family for over half of the small budget films production costs, stating that the film was produced solely for their daughter. Jill had overcome her battle with leukemia, and had been in remission for 2 years before these tragic events unfolded. Jill's parents have since sued Make a Wish stating that since their child is no longer alive, they are not responsible for repayment. The legal battle continues.

Another tragic story unfolded in the life of Alex Hamilton, of Boston, who was diagnosed with AIDS after having overcoming terminal brain cancer. His family sued the hospital he was treated at, claiming they infected him with blood that had not been tested properly. During this legal battle, which occurred 3 years after Alex's cancer went into remission, it was uncovered that the family was being pursued by Make a Wish after failing to make repayment. While the hospital's defense litigators have not been able to prove that Alex's family willingly infected him to keep him on the terminally ill list of children, they reportedly know several HIV positive members of their community.

These are just a few tragedies that have unfolded thanks to Make a Wish - an organization that supports the death of terminally ill children, while attempting to make celebrities feel good about themselves. Other organizations that work with Make a Wish, primarily Disney and Universal, could not be reached for comment. It remains unclear whether or not these companies accept payment from Make a Wish or if the organization simply pockets the money it receives as a price for a child's life.

  1. Yes, we know it's a racial or ethnic slur, or something, but we couldn't resist.