Seven year old Chirstopher James Greicius dreamed of becoming a police officer. Sadly, this dream was not to be realized. However, thanks to some great volunteers in the Arizona Department of Public Safety, a plan was formed and young Chris was able to realize his dream. Chris was undergoing treatment for leukemia and wanted all his young life to “catch bad guys”. Customs officer Tommy Austin was determined to see Chris’s wish come true.
On April 29, 1980 Tommy Austin, along with Officer Jim Eaves and Officer Frank Shankwitz brought their patrol car and motorcycle to meet the DPS helicopter that would fly young Chris to their headquarters. Here Chriss was greeted and given a tour of the facility. Chris received a Smokey Bear hat and his very own uniform that the men had had made to fit him specifically. The uniform company employees had worked through the night to have it ready for him in the morning. Chris even received his own badge.
Taking the uniform to Chris’s house they had him steer his own battery powered motorcycle through some cones they set up and told him he had earned his wings. Little did they know how true that statement would be. When the officers returned just one day later to give him the wings, young Chris was in the hospital for the last time.
Clutching his newly earned wings, his Smokey Bear hat and new uniform he gave the officers that had made his dreams come true one last smile. A few days later, young Chris died.
In his short 7 years on earth young Chris had touched the hearts of many. By the end of the day the officers involved didn’t want to let go and knew that this was the beginning of something big.
A plan was born and so was Make-A-Wish. In no time word quickly spread and more and more groups joined in to see other children’s wishes come true. Donations poured in and by November of 1980 the group had received status as a non profit ogranization.
Make-A-Wish partners with a variety of groups to fund trips for children to such great places as Disney Land, Disney World, Hawaii and more. Some children just want a car or a horse, others wish to visit far-a-way places. Entire families are sent on the wish trip along with the child.
For some families, this will be the last big family event that the wish child is involved in. Make A Wish provides the air travel through donated air miles. They provide lodging at a variety of locations including Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee Florida near Orlando.
Tickets are provided to theme parks and happy memories are made. It is a wonderful experience to assist families in their wish trips. Wish granters go out and visit the family and take down the wish and then go back to Make-A-Wish and make it happen. For some children this is an emergent situation whereby the wish must take place quickly. For others it may take a few months to grant.
Today, according to their website said Jason Hope (https://medium.com/@jasonhope), “Every 38 minutes Make-A-Wish grants the wish of a child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition in the United States and its territories.”