About Us

Founded in 1982, A Special Wish Foundation was one of the first wish-granting organizations in the United States, and now has chapters across the U.S. Since 1982, wishes have been granted to thousands of qualifying children.

Andrew and Scott at the Cleveland Indians ballpark

Andrew and Scott at the Cleveland Indians ballpark

In fact, A Special Wish Foundation is the only major wish-granting organization in the United States that grants wishes to qualifying infants, children, and adolescents from birth through and including the age of 20 years.

Three Kinds of Wishes:

A Special Gift

Computers, televisions, stereos, video games, even a puppy are included among the wishes we have granted. These wishes can captivate children and help take them away from the pain and uncertainty caused by their disorder.

A Special Place

Whether it’s a visit to a special friend or relative, amusement park, or other wish destination, A Special Wish Foundation, Inc. handles complete travel and lodging arrangements for the child and members of the immediate family. This includes air transportation, hotel expenses, meals, spending money, and all other aspects of the travel wish.

A Special Hero

So many children dream about someday meeting their special hero, whether it be a sports figure, government leader, rock star or other entertainer. A personal visit is a true morale boost for the child, as well as a memory to hang on to during unsure times ahead.

Whenever possible, immediate family members are included in the granting of wishes, to maximize the joy and memories for the child. A Special Wish Foundation offers their services to all qualifying children, and does not discriminate based on race, gender, nationality, or ethnicity.

The Sliman Family in 2011

The Sliman Family in 2011

Our History

A Special Wish Foundation, Inc. was the first wish granting organization in the state of Ohio and the third such organization in the nation. The organization was founded by Ramona Damron-Fickle, a former hospice volunteer, who was concerned about the lack of services for children with life-threatening disorders. In 1981, Ramona began to develop an organization to meet the wish-granting needs of children in Ohio.

Today, this program is available to children from coast to coast. “Seed” money was provided to the Foundation as a contribution from Cliff Damron, in memory of his wife, Gladys, who was known among family and friends for her active role in providing spiritual and physical support for disadvantaged children and their families.

The first organizational meeting was held in March 1982, at the Children’s Hospital in Columbus. A 12-member Board of Directors representing a broad spectrum of the state was seated to administer the program. In 1985, the original Board of Directors became the National Board of Governors that currently administers the program on a national/international level. The Foundation’s Articles of Incorporation were filed in Columbus in May 1982. The Foundation was later determined to be exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The first wish was granted in 1982 to 6-year-old Amber Johnson, who was suffering from leukemia. Amber and her family visited her favorite characters, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, at their home in Disney World.

Today, A Special Wish Foundation is the 3rd largest wish granting organization in the United States, with many chapters across the U.S. In the many years since Amber Johnson’s wish, wishes have been granted to thousands of qualifying children.

Quick Facts

  • ASW is the only major wish-granting foundation in the United States which grants wishes to qualifying infants/children/adolescents from birth through and including the age of 20 years.

  • 95% of  individuals who work for ASW do so as volunteers. The North Central Ohio chapter is 100% volunteers.

  • Hundreds of wishes are granted by the Foundation each year, across the United States.

  • The average cost of a wish is $3,500.
  • Immediate family members are included in the granting of wishes, whenever possible.
  • ASW receives its monetary support solely from donations and fund raising. We NEVER use the services of professional fundraisers and 100% of each donation benefits the Foundation. We NEVER solicit funds by phone!
  • The largest percentage of financial support comes from individual contributions.
  • Members/volunteers represent both professional and nonprofessional categories. 
  • There is never any discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, or financial situation in A Special Wish Foundation.