It All Started with a Seven-Year-Old Boy …

Frank Shankwitz will speak at the Inspiration Conference on March 18 at Harrah’s Resort Southern California. Denise Visconti of Women’s Week Partner Littler Mendelson, shares this spotlight:

Founder, Make-A-Wish Foundation Every day is an opportunity to change a life. Frank, along with his wife Kitty and several others, founded the Make-A-Wish Foundation in November, 1980, with Frank being the first President/CEO. Thirty-three years later, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has granted over 300,000 wishes worldwide, with a wish being granted somewhere in the world on an average of every 38 minutes. ALL BECAUSE OF A BOY NAMED CHRIS WHO WANTED TO BE A HIGHWAY PATROL MOTORCYCLE OFFICER.

Chris Greicius was seven years old and yearned to be a police officer and “catch bad guys.”  There was only one problem: Chris was dying of leukemia and he was running out of time.

After hearing about Chris’s wish, and running into red tape in his own agency, U.S. Customs Agent Tommy Austin sought the help of a friend in the Arizona Department of Public Safety (“DPS”), who was given carte blanche to grant Chris’s wish to be a police officer.  Soon others pitched in: Officer Jim Eaves offered to bring his patrol car and Officer Frank Shankwitz offered to bring his motorcycle.

Chris was brought from the hospital, where he was given a tour of the police vehicles, a “Smokey Bear” hat, a badge, a custom-made uniform, and motorcycle wings – becoming the first honorary DPS officer.  Chris succumbed to his illness a few days after he received his badge and wings, but the seeds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation were planted.

At the time he met Chris, Frank Shankwitz was part of a Motorcycle Tactical Unit that worked throughout the state of Arizona.  Whenever he was assigned to small towns, Frank would visit local grade schools, talk about bicycle safety, and let the children sit on his motorcycle.


Paisley-K200If you would like to honor Frank’s work, consider donating to fulfill the wish of local 10-year-old Paisley, who has been battling cancer for the last two years and was referred to Make-A-Wish San Diego last year.


After helping grant Chris’ wish, Frank and others decided to start a foundation to grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.  To date, more than 300,000 children have benefited from the hope, strength and joy of experiencing their wish.

Join us on Friday, March18, to hear Frank’s amazing and inspirational story about how one 7-year old boy named Chris changed his life and the lives of others.

Denise Visconti
Office Managing Shareholder
Littler Mendelson
501 W Broadway, Suite 900
San Diego, CA  92101

Posted in Empowerment, Inspiration, Speakers.