'Wishes in Flight' takes off

Throughout the month of April, making wishes come true for Connecticut children battling life-threatening medical conditions is as simple as donating unused airline miles.

Make-A-Wish Connecticut will again partner with the HAN Network for Fairfield County’s second annual airline miles drive, the HAN Network Wishes In Flight Campaign.

Make-A-Wish Connecticut granted more than 240 wishes in 2016, and an astonishing 70% of wishes granted each year require air travel. As Make-A-Wish also sends the child’s immediate family with the child, that means Make-A-Wish would need more than 2.8 billion miles — or 50,000 round-trip tickets — to cover every travel wish. This makes airline mile contributions one of the organization’s greatest needs.  

“Airline miles are imperative for Make-A-Wish branches throughout the world. Without these donated miles, Make-A-Wish has to put more strain on donations coming in from other areas to pay the cost of the travel rather than towards the wish itself,” said Pam Keough, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Connecticut. “As we work to reach more children each year, the need for airline miles continues to grow.

“Airline miles donated today will help put a smile on the faces of children who, right now, are facing uncertain and terrifying realities. It will make their dreams come true when they need it most,” Keough said.

Throughout the month of April, the HAN Network and Make-A-Wish Connecticut will be sharing stories of Wish Kids throughout Fairfield County. These local stories will highlight the struggles the children and families have faced, and the wish experience that changed their lives. The stories will share how a journey to an exotic destination or to meet a favorite celebrity is more than just a trip — it is a life-altering experience for the Wish Kid and the entire family.

“We are honored to support Make-A-Wish Connecticut in any way we can,” said HAN Network CEO Martin V. Hersam. “Rarely do we work with a charitable organization that is so organized and forward thinking.”

Donating airline miles to the HAN Network Wishes In Flight Campaign is simple. Visit CT.WISH.ORG/HANNetwork and make a contribution through the online portal. HAN Network needs your help in raising 300,000 miles for Connecticut kids.

Make-A-Wish enters a child’s life during a time of darkness and fear — fear for what will come as the child continues treatment and fear for what the child may never be able to experience because of the condition.

The power of a wish gives a child and family something to look forward to and a renewed strength in the fight.

“With a presence in over 132,000 households, we are extremely excited to be able to work with the HAN Network,” Keough said. “Their wide range of newspapers, online and broadcasting presence, combined with their philanthropic vision of making a difference in the community, has resulted in a wonderful relationship and we are proud to call the HAN Network a partner and a friend.”

Unused Delta or United miles may be donated directly to the campaign by visiting CT.WISH.ORG/HANNetwork, which will help Connecticut Wish Kids reach their dream destinations. JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines also accept airline miles donations that support Make-A-Wish through their own airline mile donation programs, which can be contributed through their individual websites. Directions to these portals are available on the HAN Network campaign page.

More information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut may be found at ct.wish.org, or find Make-A-Wish Connecticut on Facebook and Twitter.