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The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a non-profit organization that grants the wishes of children diagnosed with critical
illnesses. According to health professionals, volunteers, wish parents, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, they all
believe that a wish experience can be a "game changer" and empowers children with life -threatening conditions to
fight harder against their illness.

Founded in 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation is the largest wish-granting organization in the world. In the United
States, and its territories, they grant, on average, one wish every 34 minutes.

How it started
In 1980, U.S. Customs Agent Tommy Austin told Ron Cox of the Arizona Department of Public Safety the story of Chris
Greicius. Chris, the son of Austin's family friend, was dying of Leukemia. The seven-year-old boy had always dreamed of
going along with Austin to "catch bad guys." Austin, unable to take Chris along, asked Cox if he could help make Chris'
dream come true.
Cox received the go ahead form the DPS to give Chris a special experience. Many other officers joined in and donated
their time and efforts by gathering patrol cars, motorcycles, and officer uniforms. Chris was given a tour and received his
own badge, and became Arizona's first and only honorary DPS officer.
Frank Shankwitz and Scott Stahl, two officers who helped make this day happen for Chris, flew to Illinois for his funeral.
Chris was given the ceremony of a fellow fallen officer. Word got out of these acts and strangers were so emotionally
affected by it, that the men created the wish-granting organization. "The wishes make kids feel better and when they
feel better, they get better."

The Wish Process

To qualify for a wish, a child with a critical illness must be between the ages of 2 .5 and 18. The child must not have had a
wish granted in the past. Once a child is referred, Make-A-Wish will work with the treating physician to determine the
child's eligibility for a wish. For example, a child suffering from a progressive, degenerative, or malignant condition
needs to be careful of putting their life in jeopardy.
Children can be referred by one of four sources: Medical professionals such as a doctor, nurse, social worker, or child-life
specialist. Parents and legal guardians of the potential wish kid, potential wish kids and family members with detailed
knowledge of the child's current medial condition.
While most requests fall into five major categories, the possibilities are endless. The five major categories include: I wish
to go; I wish to be; I wish to meet; I wish to have; and I wish to give.

Nationally, Make-A-Wish has granted over 285,000 wishes and there is no end in sight. The organization works
hard every day to grant every wish and make every wish as unique for each child. Volunteers, donors, sponsors,
medical professionals, and communities come together to bring as much joy as they can to every child. The
organization relies on more than 25,000 volunteers to provide the best wish experience.