Make-A-Wish Started With One Boy, Celebrates 250,000 Wishes Granted

Make-A-Wish Started With One Boy, Celebrates 250,000 Wishes Granted

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chris-first-make-a-wish-kidMake-A-Wish is celebrating a huge milestone, having granted a quarter million wishes in the United States since the children’s charity was founded in 1980.

The wish-granting movement began in Phoenix, Arizona when two law enforcement officers learned about a young boy, Chris Greicius, who yearned to be a police officer, but would probably die of leukemia at age seven. With permission from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Officer Ron Cox and U.S. Customs Agent Tommy Austin began to make that dream come true.

They drew other people in. Officer Jim Eaves brought his patrol car. Officer Frank Shankwitz, who became the group’s president, brought his motorcycle. A DPS helicopter flew the boy and his parents to headquarters where he was given a hat and badge and sworn in as the department’s first honorary officer. Two of the men came to his home the following day with a uniform made especially to fit his size.

Five days later the boy passed, but, holding his new uniform, he had a smile on his face.

When Chris was given a funeral service befitting that of a fallen fellow officer, everyone was amazed by the story. DPS officers and their wives began talking about creating an organization.

Receiving a tax-exempt status as a non-profit in late 1980, and incorporated in 1983, the charity spread to every state and around the globe to nearly 50 countries. To date more than 334,000 wishes have been granted worldwide, funded entirely through private donations and corporate sponsors, and fulfilled by volunteers.

“The impact Make-A-Wish has had on the lives of children around the U.S. and around the world is immeasurable,” said David Williams, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America. “We know that a wish-come-true can make wish kids feel better, and in some cases, get better as they battle life-threatening medical conditions.”

Beyonce-sings to dying Taylon-MakeAWishSome of America’s most beloved celebrities, like Beyonce, have fulfilled wishes. Favorite athletes, like WWE wrestler John Cena too. Iconic destinations like Disney World and Yosemite National Park have jumped at the chance to bring joy to kids like 9-year old Gabriel who wished to become a Park Ranger there (watch the inspiring video). Entire cities are now joining together in a conspiracy of kindness. A year ago, San Francisco was turned into Gotham City, so that “Bat Kid” could do battle against evil-doers.

“We’re not stopping at 250,000 because there are so many more wishes to grant,” Williams said. “Right now, we are able to grant the wishes of only half of the children diagnosed every day.”

Find out how you can help grant wishes or volunteer at wish.org/ways-to-help.

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