Make-A-Wish Foundation

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About Us

  • Founded

    1980

  • Industry

    Social Services (Non-Profit)

  • Headquarters

    Phoenix, AZ

Make A Wish-Making A Difference
It seems like only yesterday, but it has been more than 20 years. My son Chris was only 7 years old and all his life he had dreamed of being a police officer. Chris' dream was the biggest thing in the world to him, but even he couldn't have known that this wish would serve as the inspiration for the largest wish-granting organization in the world. Many children have plenty of time to realize their dreams as they grow up. But Chris didn't have the luxury of time—he had leukemia and his prognosis wasn't good. But Chris had a special quality that captivated those around him. And one of our dear friends was so taken by my son's interest in police officers, that he wanted to ensure that this little boy received his wish.

I'll never forget that special day—April 29, 1980—when Chris' wish was granted. A police helicopter flew us over the Phoenix area, landing at the Department of Public Safety (DPS), where three squad cars and a motorcycle awaited our arrival. Chris, with his blue eyes dazzling, was sworn in as an honorary patrolman. Later in the day, Chris and the director of DPS took some time out of their hectic police schedule to share a pack of bubble gum together. From then on, Chris was known to his fellow officers as the "Bubble Gum Trooper." The company responsible for making the highway patrol uniforms was so moved by the media coverage of Chris' wish, that they decided to get involved in adding to the wish experience. The owner and two seamstresses worked all night to custom-tailor a highway patrolman uniform for Chris. On May 1st, several officers who had met Chris a few days before, showed up at the house and presented him with his official police uniform.

I had bought a battery-operated motorcycle for Chris to take the place of his wheelchair. Chris really liked the motorcycle wings worn by one of the officers and asked how he could get some. The officers said that Chris needed to pass a motorcycle proficiency test before the wings could be presented to him. So the officers set up a motorcycle course in our driveway so Chris could take his test. He passed with flying colors. On May 2nd, Chris was back in the hospital. He was so proud and happy about being a patrolman that he asked that his uniform be hung up in the window of his room and his motorcycle helmet and "Smokey the Bear" hat be placed on his dresser so he could see them. One of the officers showed up at the hospital and presented Chris with his new motorcycle wings, which had been created especially for Chris by a local jeweler.

On May 3rd, Chris passed away. As the first-ever and only honorary state trooper in Arizona history, Chris was given a police funeral with full honors by his fellow patrolmen. It brings tears of joy to my eyes to know that this wonderful time in my son's life was the inspiration for the organization that has granted more than 83,000 wishes to courageous children like Chris around the world. Sincerely, Linda (Chris' mom)