FARGO — Make-A-Wish North Dakota will hold a Miles for Smiles Drive on Thursday, Feb. 25.

The program, a local take on the national campaign Wishes in Flight, is a single-day push for people to donate airline miles to help children with critical illnesses travel for their wish.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put some wishes on hold, but donated miles will be used as soon as a wish is determined to be safe to grant.

The annual drive has raised more than 1 million donated airline miles since its inception in 2018.

“The donated miles ensure Wish kids can dream big and we can make that dream a reality without a heavy financial burden getting in the way. Every donation of miles helps transform the life of a child with a critical illness,” Make-A-Wish North Dakota President and CEO Billi Zielinski said in a news release.

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In previous years, Make-A-Wish North Dakota has granted almost one life-changing wish a week. About 75 percent of those wishes require air travel, the largest expense of Make-A-Wish North Dakota’s annual wish budget.

On average, about 50,000 airline miles are used for a wish child's flight, while it takes roughly 200,000 miles to fly the average-sized family.

Donations can be made by calling 800-362-9474 or online at wish.org/northdakota. Donations of airline miles can also be made year-round.