Cystic fibrosis no longer automatically qualifies children for the Make-a-Wish Foundation

(CNN) The Make-A-Wish Foundation has announced that cystic fibrosis is no longer automatically a qualifying condition due to “life-changing advancements” in disease outcome.

The philanthropic foundation announced the policy change in a press release on Friday. They explained that as of January 2024, children with cystic fibrosis will only be eligible if they have “additional complications or factors that make the current situation critical.”

Cystic fibrosis is a lifelong progressive genetic disease that causes an overabundance of mucus, traps infections, and blocks the airways in the lungs. Treatment options for the disease have long been limited, and diagnosis has been associated with a shorter lifespan.

But advances in treating the disease have allowed cystic fibrosis patients to live decades longer. The current life expectancy for cystic fibrosis patients born between 2017 and 2021 is 53 years, up from 38 years a decade ago, according to the release. And in 2019, the FDA approved a “breakthrough” therapy that could be used by up to 90% of patients with the disease.

This decision has not been taken lightly and we understand that it may lead to some frustration and disappointment. “As with all wish referrals, we will carefully consider any CF request that a family member, legal guardian, medical professional or potential wish child believes meets our guidelines.”

The foundation said they will be consulting a team of 19 doctors from a variety of backgrounds, as well as some of the more than 200 medical advisers who support their departments, to ensure the new rules are applied fairly.

The nonprofit explained that they also grant wishes on a case-by-case basis for several other illnesses, including some cancers, epilepsy, sickle cell anemia, and heart disease.

According to its website, the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants “life-changing wishes” for children between the ages of 2.5 and 18 who have been diagnosed with a critical illness “that endangers the child’s life.”

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