Make-A-Wish Foundation is the organization that grants children with life-threatening medical conditions a wish. As the end of the year approaches, they're asking people with unused airline miles to donate them in order to grant wishes, because the majority of what kids want involves air travel.
"More than half of our kids choose a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort, for example, but there's other types of travel wishes, and even for children to meet their celebrity we often have to send them to where the celebrity is," said Dana Antkowiak, a spokeswoman with Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Pennsylvania & Southern West Virginia, which includes Pittsburgh.
Nationally, the Make-A-Wish Foundation estimates that it needs more than 2.5 billion miles, or 50,000 round-trip tickets, each year. The Greater Pennsylvania chapter says that they'll likely need more than 123 million miles in 2012.
"Once they're donated to us they don't expire, which is nice. We will use them," said Antkowiak, "and they require a minimum donation of 1,000 miles."
The Greater Pennsylvania Make-A-Wish chapter has served more than 12,500 children in 57 Pennsylvania and 23 West Virginia counties in its 28-year history.
"Our children are going through something they shouldn't have to at such a young age. Doctor's visits and treatments and all those things can really affect families. Our goal is to be a positive source for them. A wish is something that takes their mind off of what's going on. It lets them feel like a kid again. It can give them a lot of hope," said Antkowiak.