Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties is asking people to donate frequent flier miles to help grant wishes.

The donated miles are used to send sick children from Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties and their families on wish trips.

Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties currently needs frequent flier miles to help with trips for kids with life-threatening medical conditions being planned to Florida, Hawaii to swim with the dolphins, Hawaii to surf Waikiki, Baltimore to meet the Ravens, Paris, Australia, Ireland, cruises and a visit to the University of Kentucky.

One of those trips in progress is to Give Kids the World resort in Florida for 3-year-old Rudy Geyling of Goleta, who lives with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

HLHS means that the left side of his heart is underdeveloped and non-functioning. It takes a series of three risky surgeries between birth and about 4 years of age to give HLHS patients a chance of survival.

Give Kids the World is a 70-acre storybook resort in central Florida designed specifically for children with life-threatening medical conditions and their families. A family friend of Rudy’s went to Give Kids the World and told them about the wonderful accommodations for sick kids available at this very special resort.

Something that is very appealing to Rudy’s parents, Trish and Rorf Geyling, is knowing that Give Kids the World has a little something for all four kids and is also equipped to handle Rudy’s medical needs.

Locally, about 12 million miles a year are needed in the Tri-Counties alone to grant wishes and only 1 million to 2 million are donated each year, making airline tickets an avoidable but significant expense for the organization. Increased fuel costs over the last year have make frequent flyer mile donations more important than ever.

Make-A-Wish asks that instead of turning in small balances of miles for magazines, frequent fliers donate miles — a gift that can make a real difference to kids with life-threatening medical conditions. Click here to donate. United, Delta, Continental and US Airways all allow donation of miles to Make-A-Wish.

— Shanna Wasson Taylor is the CEO of Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties.