Struggling charity Make-A-Wish is launching a major fundraising drive in Perth today after confirming more than 50 seriously ill WA children are on a waiting list to be granted wishes.
It comes a year after financial belt-tightening and a downturn in sponsorship forced the group to close its Perth office and put a temporary freeze on new applications from parents of sick children.
Make-A-Wish is marketing a new website where donors and companies can opt to pay all or part of individual wish applications for children, many of which are for holidays to Queensland theme parks.
The group has confirmed that a 25 per cent increase in requests in the past two years means more than 500 Australian children with life-threatening illnesses are on the waiting list, including 59 from WA.
Among the WA applicants are children battling cancer, brain tumours and muscular dystrophy.
The group's general manager of marketing, fundraising and communications, Kellie Johnston, hoped the new campaign, known as the Wish Effect, would generate funding to grant more wishes.
A website provides supporters with updates by displaying the number of wishes their contribution would help grant.
"The Wish Effect is a new and easy way for people to donate small or large amounts online and to post messages of support to children who are waiting for their wishes to come true," she said.
"As Make-A-Wish receives no ongoing government funding, we are critically reliant on the generosity of individuals and organisations to continue meeting the ever-increasing demand for wishes."
She said international research showed that granting a wish improved the wellbeing of sick children and their families at a time when they needed it most.
Ms Johnston said for the first time in Make-A-Wish Australia's 27-year history, demand for wishes exceeded funding.
Since its inception in 1985, the group has granted the wishes of more than 7000 children.For more information see www.thewisheffect.com.au.