If you thought one person couldn’t make a difference, here’s a story to inspire you. In April, 1980, Frank Shankwitz, a cop with a motorcycle was asked to return to his headquarters. His police department had decided to fulfill the wish of a terminally ill seven-year-old boy, Chris Greicius, who wanted to be a motorcycle officer when he grew up. Shankwitz went on to introduce Greicius to his motorbike, his work, and his routine, much to the boy’s delight. Greicius was made an honorary officer and he even received a special badge worn by motorcycle cops. But it was no easy feat to earn this badge—Greicius had to undergo a test in his front yard to show off his motorcycle driving skills. However, by the time Greicius got his badge and uniform, he had slipped into a coma and, soon after, passed away.
But Frank Shankwitz didn’t forget the experience. On the way back from the boy’s funeral, he came up with the idea for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help make the wishes and dreams of terminally ill children come true. There are now sixty-four branches of the foundation and they’ve fulfilled many different wishes from “eat dinner in a restaurant” to “meet the pope” and helped almost five hundred thousand critically ill children!
Shankwitz never took a salary for his work on the foundation, and remained the organization’s most active ambassador, traveling around the country to help deliver kids’ wishes. Shankwitz died on January 24th, 2021, at the age of seventy-seven, leaving behind a legacy that touched the hearts of many and one that started with a little boy’s simple wish.