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Why we refer
The medical referral process is easier than you may think. Here are the fast facts on referring children with critical illnesses to Make-A-Wish, from the perspective of medical professionals.

Dr. Creel

Dr. Creel is the Certified Grief Recovery Specialist for Children’s Heart Center of Nevada. During her tenure, she has referred 54 wish kids to Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada.

Why do you take extra time out of your day to refer children to Make-A-Wish?

It has an immense effect on the child and the family. There is nothing more traumatic than a medical journey, so it’s the least we can do for a child who’s worked hard and is deserving of a wish.

What’s the mental, emotional, and physical impact of a wish on a child?
It transforms them. They go from being in this scared, angry, anxious world, and the wish brings them to another realm of life. With their wish, they’re in a different state of mind and are in a world of fantasy and fun.

What is the emotional impact you’ve experienced when you see a child come back from their wish?

I’m one of the lucky ones because I get to hear their story. When they return there’s a sense of lightheartedness, and though they're returning to the real world, they’ll always have those memories. For me, when I get to offer to refer them for a wish, it makes me feel like Santa. 

Describe the process of referring a child?

If I see a family and a child, I’ll see if they’re appropriate to receive a wish. I talk to the family and explain how this isn't a last wish, but a chance for the child and the family to step out of their medical world for a minute. From there, I give the referral to other staff members and have conversations with the child’s doctor and go from there.

What do you want people to know about the referral process that they may not know already?

It’s easier than you’d think and it’s not just for terminal children. It’s about seeing a child who deserves an opportunity to experience a wish. 


Claudia is a social worker at Cure 4 The Kids Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at Children’s Heart Center. 54 kids in Southern Nevada have received their one true wish because of her referral.

Tell me about the first time you referred a child to Make-A-Wish? 

The first time I referred someone it made me really excited. I’ve always known about Make-A-Wish and growing up, I always wanted to be able to do stuff like this. It’s why I wanted to become a social worker. It completely boosts the morale of the child and the family.

Why do you take time out of your busy schedule to refer children with critical illnesses to Make-A-Wish?

I’m really adamant about referrals because I’ve seen what they do for children. Parents are sometimes resistant because of that misconception about Make-A-Wish being only for terminally ill children, so are wary of the process if their child is doing fine. But I explain to them your child has to go through something that no other child has to go through, so they should get to do something that no other child gets to do. Make-A-Wish is a little bit magical.

What’s the mental, emotional, and physical impact of a wish on a child?

Overall, it’s just a morale boost, which is honestly the best thing that I can see for children. So much time and attention goes into the illness, that not a lot of it goes into how someone is doing mentally. The wish is also a big deal for parents and siblings. The fact that wishes can be family incorporated makes such a huge difference, too. As a parent, it’s so nice to see your child with a smile on their face.

Is the referral process time consuming or no?

Now that it’s online, it’s so easy. It takes minutes, and it’s not even a hassle for me. The system even remembers my information which is super nice.

What do you want medical professionals to know about the referral process that they may not know already?

If you’re able to refer, do it. It’ll make you so happy! I’m not sure if other medical professionals or referrers know this, but Make-A-Wish does a great job of sending pictures of the kids on their wishes back to you which is so cool. It’s nice, say, six months after I refer someone to see their wish being granted.

If you'd like to learn more about referring a child, click here.

About this Blog

The Wish Blog gives you a behind-the-scenes look at Make-A-Wish®. See how wishes come together and how they change lives forever. Hear directly from those who work or volunteer here, or those who have been transformed by a wish. And learn why we are so committed to someday granting the wish of every eligible child, every year.

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9950 Covington Cross Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89144
(702) 212-9474