Frequently Asked Questions

Who does the Marty Lyons Foundation serve?

The Marty Lyons Foundation grants wishes to children (3-17) who have been diagnosed with a terminal or life-threatening illness. We are unique as we will consider a second wish for a deserving child.

Who is eligible for a wish?

We will review applications for children who

  • are between the ages of 3-17
  • have been diagnosed with a terminal or life-threatening illness
  • are residing in or receiving treatment in a geographic area where the Foundation is registered (Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia)
How can a child get a wish?

Families or social workers must complete a four-paged wish application. The forms are then sent to our headquarters in NY for a medical review between the child's physician and our Foundation's Medical Director. The family and social worker are then notified of the decision by our Program Coordinator. She will assign the wish to one of our volunteer Wish Coordinators within the local chapter who will then begin working on the wish with the family.
How to Apply for a Wish >

There are only three applications listed on website. What is the fourth form?

The fourth form is a HIPAA release (commonly referred to as the Authorization to Release Protected Healthcare Information). It is hospital specific and you will have to request from the medical facility where your child receives treatment. This form gives your child's doctor permission to speak with MLF.

How long does it take to receive a wish after it's approved?

Once in progress, a wish can take anywhere from a week to a year - or sometimes longer - depending on the type of wish and the child's health status.

What can a child wish for?

The various wishes sought by children include trips to the magical fantasy world of Disney, luxurious cruises to the Caribbean, the thrill of swimming with the dolphins and fishing on the clear blue sea of Key West. Another popular wish is a meet and greet with a favorite celebrity or tickets to a concert or sporting event. Children who are home-bound because of medical treatments may request a computer or laptop to provide them a window to the world. Some exceptional requests have included a room or backyard renovation, generators to support life-saving medical equipment and a most heartfelt wish from a southern child to see snow in Vermont.
Wish Stories >

Are there certain wishes that the Marty Lyons Foundation doesn't grant?

While we make every effort to fulfill a child's wish, some wishes we cannot grant are:

  • Trips outside of the continental US (unless it is a port on a cruise that originated in the continental US)
  • Home construction
  • Purchase of a vehicle or any type of ATV or motor bike
  • Financial assistance
  • Firearms
  • Anything deemed to be high risk
How is the Marty Lyons Foundation staffed?

Our Board of Directors and active volunteers are comprised of caring individuals in many fields including bankers, financial experts, physicians, attorneys, social workers, nurses and business leaders. Each lends their particular area of expertise to further the Foundation's mission. At present, MLF operates with three staff members (Executive Director, Program Services Coordinator and Fundraising Coordinator). Each chapter is headed by a president overseeing volunteers who function as wish coordinators, fundraisers and administrative assistants.

How is the Marty Lyons Foundation funded?
  • The average cost for an individual wish is $5,000. Extenuating circumstances (special transportation needs, medical equipment, and the size of family, to name a few) can increase the expense. The Board, volunteers and staff are committed to securing these funds through events, foundations, grants and individual donations.
  • 92 cents from every dollar donated goes directly to granting a wish.