Make-a-Wish Foundation Co-founder Frank Shankwitz Passes Away at 77 — Look through His Legacy
Frank Shankwitz died on January 24 in his Prescott, Arizona home at the age of 77. He was a Highway Patrol officer in Arizona who had a charity foundation for terminally ill children.
Last month, the Make-A-Wish foundation released a statement that expressed their deep sadness over the passing of Frank Shankwitz, who was one of the six people who helped grant Chris Greicius' wish.
According to the statement, Shankwitz became one of Make-A-Wish's co-founders after fulfilling Greicius' wish. The statement also expressed the foundation's love for the Shankwitz family.
The Make-a-Wish foundation was started in 1980 due to hearing about an Arizona boy named Chris Greicius, who had leukemia and wanted to join the force when he grew up.
An honorary officer was arranged for the boy by the department. Shankwitz made a special badge for Greicius and contacted the actors of "CHiPs," the boy's favorite show, for autographs.
A few days after Greicius received the gifts and his wish was granted, the boy died. Shankwitz was deeply impacted by the experience, which led him to help create the Make-a-Wish foundation.
In his 2018 memoir called "Wise Man," Shankwitz wrote: "It was once enough for me to be a dad, a cowboy, and a highway patrol officer. But my destination changed."
He is survived by Kitty, his two daughters, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
In 1984, Shankwitz decided to step down as its president. He explained that he was also working on narcotics at the time and couldn't have his name and face plastered all over the place.
Shankwitz looked for professional help from non-profits. The foundation began hiring people who had experience, contacts, and the right background to put Make-A-Wish on the map.
Make-A-Wish is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Frank Shankwitz. Frank was one of six individuals who helped grant Chris Greicius’ wish and thereafter became one of the co-founders of Make-A-Wish.— Make-A-Wish America (@MakeAWish) January 24, 2021
Make-a-Wish is now a worldwide non-profit serving 50 countries around the world. They've helped fulfill more than 334,000 wishes. Shankwitz's legacy will be forever remembered.
Meanwhile, Kitty Shankwitz, Shankwitz's wife, said her husband's death was caused by esophageal cancer. He is survived by Kitty, his two daughters, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Thanks to all of our generous founders, more than 500,000 children with critical illnesses worldwide have had the chance to experience the long-lasting, life-changing benefits of a wish. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Shankwitz family.— Make-A-Wish America (@MakeAWish) January 24, 2021
Shankwitz was among the several notable personalities who passed away recently. On February 1, the world also lost Dustin Diamond when he succumbed to carcinoma.
Meanwhile, legendary broadcaster Larry King died on January 23. The cause of his death was not given, but he was fighting COVID-19 in the hospital more than a week before his death.