Apply for a wish


What is a wish?

Wishes can be as unique as the children themselves and whether a child wants to be a princess or a fireman for the day, own an iPad, meet a favourite celebrity or even a ‘real life’ mermaid, Rays of Sunshine strives to make that wish come true.


What can I wish for?

We categorise our wishes into different ‘wish types’ – to go, to meet, to be, to have and at-home experiences. Our medical advisors evaluate each wish application individually to determine the type of wish that can be granted.


**Please note** Due to the cost of living crisis and the general increase in travel prices, Rays of Sunshine are no longer able to grant long-haul family holiday wishes. There may be a limited amount of trips to other short-haul locations but these are not guaranteed and are subject to change. There are also strict criteria around a child qualifying for a travel wish (must be aged 4yrs+, not be on dialysis or any transplant list and have medical sign-off from their consultant)

How to apply for a wish?

All wish applications are assessed on the child’s individual circumstances and the medical information provided on the form. We work closely with our team of professional medical advisors to ensure the wish is suitable for the child.

We cannot guarantee what type of wish can be granted upon application and encourage you to put down three different types of special wishes.

On average it takes us three months to deliver a wish, time-sensitive wishes will be assessed individually on a quicker time scale. We cannot keep wishes open indefinitely, so please only apply when the child is ready to have their wish.

Start your application today:

Who can apply for a wish?

For a child to be eligible to have a wish granted by Rays of Sunshine, the child must:

  1. Be currently living with a serious or life-limiting illness
  2. Aged between three and 18 years of age*
  3. Be a UK resident
  4. Not had a previous wish from Rays of Sunshine or another wish granting charity

*Applications will be accepted until the day before the child’s 18th birthday

Read our full criteria

What is the wish journey?

  1. Parent/guardian or Medical Referral

    Parents or guardians send in applications or a medical professional may refer a child online with the parent’s permission.

  2. Wish Application

    If a child is referred by a medical professional, the family will be sent a link to complete the application. If a parent/guardian wants to apply for a wish for their child they can use the separate application form.

  3. Application review

    Your application will be reviewed to see if it matches our eligibility criteria. We will let you know if your child has been accepted for a wish.

  4. Wish Excitement

    If you’re eligible for a wish, the excitement can begin building. Our wish granters will tailor your wish to your needs making the day as perfect as it can be.

  5. Wish Day

    The magical day is here! We try to engage the whole family on a wish because we understand that the wish can have an impact beyond the child.

  6. Beyond the Wish 

    From the moment the wish is granted, you become part of our wish community. This means you are invited to join in any of the events which take place throughout the year – across the UK. 

The below outlines the charity’s approach to wish applications with a prognosis indicated by the consultant of less than 12 months.

Please note: International travel is not possible for a prognosis of under 12 months, and only UK-based wishes will be approved.


Priority wishes:

Any medical form which indicates a child’s prognosis to be 6-12 months will fall into the Priority category.

Once a priority wish application has been identified:

  • It will be taken to the next general meeting for review.
  • If approved, it will be allocated to a wish granter to start working on as soon as possible.
  • If declined, the family will be sent an email explaining our decision.


Rush wishes:

Any medical form which indicates a child’s prognosis to be 6 months or less will fall into the Rush category.

Once a Rush wish application has been identified:

  • Approval – If there is a Wish General Meeting that day or within the next two days then the application will be taken to the meeting for approval. If there is not a meeting within the following two days the wish can be approved outside of the meeting as long as it is reviewed by the Wish Manager/Head of Services. (If both are not available then the CEO can be used).
  • If approved, it will be allocated to a wish granter to start working on as soon as possible.
  • If declined, the family will be sent an email explaining our decision

Any questions?

Contact our wish team at 020 8782 1171 or email wishes@raysofsunshine.org.uk 

What is the purpose of a wish?

When a child is diagnosed with a serious illness, their childhood is often disrupted by medical appointments that take up their free time. They may be worried about their health, leaving little room for child-like enjoyment. Rays of Sunshine provides a much-needed respite that these children deserve.

Granting a wish to a sick child not only gives them a sense of choice, but also boosts their confidence and gives them an uplifting memory to hold onto during difficult times. A wish can have a profound impact, not just on the child, but on their family as well. It provides an opportunity for them to spend quality time together, away from hospitals and doctor’s offices, and can give the child a sense of empowerment.

'Anyone who is thinking about applying for a wish, do it.'

Our Wish Granters pulled out all the stops to give motor enthusaist, Ethan an unforgettable car-themed wish at the world-famous Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Read Ethan's Wish Story

Any questions? 

Contact our wish team at 020 8782 1171 or email wishes@raysofsunshine.org.uk