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Make a sick kid's wish come true -- with miles

Child with a congenital heart defect wished he could go on a cruise and play with a stingray. He did, thanks to Make-A-Wish. Photo courtesy of Make-A-Wish.

This sounds like a worthy project -- and you can pitch in without having to spend a dime.

The folks at Make-A-Wish are looking for jet-setters willing to donate a total of 2.5 billion airline miles during the month of April. They’ll be used this year to put 10,000 special children on planes to places they’ve always dreamed about seeing. The program is called “Wishes in Flight.”

Founded in 1980, Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Nearly 75 percent of the wishes involve travel, either domestic or overseas.

“When someone hears frequent flier miles, we want them to think of Make-A-Wish, to think about how easy it is to help change the lives of sick children who are fighting for their health,” said John Vranas, chief marketing officer for Make-A-Wish America.

Make-A-Wish accepts the donation of airline miles year-round, but April is a critical time as arrangements are being made for summer wish travel.

In addition to hosting the online miles donation portal, Make-A-Wish is working with companies throughout the country to hold corporate campaigns to raise miles and has developed air miles drives with radio and television stations nationwide. The organization is also launching a national marketing initiative to bring attention to the organization’s need for airline miles.

A Make-A-Wish spokesman noted: “Former wish kids tell us their wish experience improved their health and strength, gave them more confidence and the will to pursue more challenging life goals, made them more philanthropic and compassionate, and even helped save their life.”

With the help of generous donors and more than 25,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 38 minutes. It has granted over 240,000 wishes since its inception, including more than 14,000 in 2013 alone.

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