In 1980, 7-year-old Christopher James Greicius had a wish. He wanted to be a police officer. In April of 1980, that wish came true.
Chris was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and as his condition worsened, his mother Linda decided to help grant his wish before he ended up back in the hospital again. Their friend, U.S. Customs Officer Tommy Austin, had promised Chris a ride in a police helicopter, so he made some calls.
So, on the morning of April 29, 1980, a police helicopter picked Chris up and escorted him to the Arizona Department of Public Safety (taking the scenic route, of course). He was greeted by three police cars and a police motorcycle and had a great time talking with the officers. The officers dubbed him "Bubble Gum Trooper."
That day, Bubble Gum Trooper Greicius was sworn in as the first and only honorary Arizona state trooper!
The officers were so touched by the boy that Officer Ron Cox called their uniform company to get a custom uniform for Chris. The company, John's Uniforms, was also moved by the story. The company worked overnight to get the uniform ready as soon as possible. On May 1, Chris had his uniform.
On May 2, Chris was back in the hospital, but he was so proud about being a patrolman, he asked that his uniform be hung in the window of his room and that his motorcycle helmet be placed on his dresser so he could see them. Officer Frank Shankwitz presented Chris with motorcycle wings to add to his uniform.
On May 3, Chris passed away, but not before living his dream. On the plane trip back from the funeral, Officers Scott Stahl and Frank Shankwitz knew how much it meant to Chris to have his wish granted, and how cheerful it made him in his last days. They figured that there must be other ill children out there like Chris. In that moment, the idea of Make-A-Wish® was born.
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