It is well known that Make-A-Wish Foundation is a worldwide phenomenon granting wishes to children battling serious illness. Elizabeth Reich, President/CEO of Make-A-Wish Arizona, says what most Arizonans don’t know is the organization was founded in Arizona in 1980.
Chris, a seven year old boy with leukemia, wanted to be a police officer when he grew up. His mom’s friends knew that he was not going to be able to grow up and have that wish come true. They made it happen for him. Chris wanted to be a motorcycle cop because he loved the TV show CHIPS. On his wish he got to ride his toy motorcycle on an obstacle course to earn his motorcycle wings and be sworn in as a DPS officer. To this day, Chis is the only civilian ever to be sworn in as a DPS officer.
The wish process begins when Volunteer Wish Granters meet the child and build a bond with the child to figure out what their one true wish is. They spend a lot of time with the kids and families and have many conversations to get to the heart of the wish. Volunteers listen to the details of the wish so they are better able to make the wish specific to the child.
Make-A-Wish Arizona is the founding chapter of what has become Make-A-Wish America, with 62 chapters across the US. Make-A-Wish International has 35 affiliates and reaches 48 countries. Every 37 minutes a child’s wish is granted in the U.S. by Make-A-Wish.
While having wishes granted might seem magical for the children who receive them, there is a significant amount of work involved for each wish.