How your unused airline miles can help a child

(BPT) – Helping a child in need may be easier than you think, by redirecting a common resource that often just goes to waste.

Industry experts say Americans collectively are holding on to 9.7 trillion unused airline miles. Many people don’t have enough miles to qualify for reward travel. Others aren’t able to use the miles they have during the times that work for them. However, there is an easy way to use those miles to help change the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Make-A-Wish recently launched a concerted effort to raise airline miles and dollars to fund tickets for wishes that involve travel.

In 2012, Make-A-Wish granted nearly 14,000 life-changing wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions; 74 percent, or 10,360, of those wishes required air travel. To cover the cost of all of those wishes, Make-A-Wish would have needed approximately 50,000 airline tickets or 2.5 billion airline miles, or $ 37.5 million. Every mile or dollar donated helps Make-A-Wish focus more resources on reaching more eligible children in communities across the country, granting their one wish.

Each wish-come-true is a powerful experience in the life of the recipient, and everyone involved. The wish experience often is a pivot point in the course of a child’s treatment, and can make them feel better, and in some cases, even help them get better. A wish strengthens families, reduces stress, provides happiness and inspiration, and helps create strong community bonds.

Make-A-Wish is committed to the vision of someday granting the wish of every eligible child, every year. To help move closer to that vision, Make-A-Wish is encouraging individuals to join other supporters, like WWE Superstar John Cena, in donating airline miles or dollars at The donation of airline miles is quick and easy; all one needs is their frequent flier number and basic personal information. Watch the Make-A-Wish video “Help Wish Kids Take Flight.”

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