By Zoe Sottile, CNN
The Make-A-Wish Foundation has announced that cystic fibrosis is no longer automatically a qualifying condition, due to “life-changing advances” in disease outcome.
The philanthropic foundation announced the policy change in a press release on Friday. They explained that starting in January 2024, children with cystic fibrosis will only be eligible if they have “additional complications or factors that make the current situation critical.”
cystic fibrosissa lifelong disease progressive genetic disease, which causes an overabundance of mucus, trapping infections and blocking the airways in the lungs. Treatment options for the disease have long been limited, and the diagnosis has been associated with a shorter life expectancy.
But advances in treating the disease have led cystic fibrosis patients to live decades longer. The current life expectancy for cystic fibrosis patients born between 2017 and 2021 is 53 years, an increase from 38 years a decade ago, according to the statement. And in 2019, the FDA approved a “breakthrough” therapy it could be used by up to 90% of patients with the disease.
“This decision was not made lightly and we understand that it may result in some frustration and disappointment,” the organization wrote. “As with all wish referrals, we will carefully consider any CF request that a family member, legal guardian, medical professional, or potential wanted child believes meets our guidelines.”
The foundation said it will consult a team of 19 doctors from various backgrounds, as well as some of the more than 200 medical advisers who support its chapters, to ensure the new rules are applied fairly.
The nonprofit organization explained that they also grant wishes on a case-by-case basis for various other illnesses, including some types of cancer, epilepsy, sickle cell disease, 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 are diagnosed with a critical illness “that is life-threatening to the child.”
The CNN Wire
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