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The Power of A Child's Wish
published September 2016



In February, 1979, seven year old Christopher Greicius was diagnosed with leukemia. Chris and his mother Linda were living in Scottsdale, Arizona where a family friend, US Customs Agent Tommy Austin, developed a special friendship with him. Chris loved playing policeman and wanted to catch the bad guys. Tommy would play the bad guy and Chris would chase him on his battery-powered, threewheeled motorcycle, always catching him and making the arrest.

When Chris was hospitalized, knowing his death was imminent, Austin spoke with Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer Ron Cox and they began a plan to make Chris' wish come true.

Lt. Col. Dick Schaefer gave Chris a "Smokey Bear" hat and one of his own old badges. He also swore Chris in as Arizona's first and only honorary DPS officer. They gave him a helicopter tour of Phoenix and he "drove" a police car. The officers had an official police uniform created for Chris. They delivered the uniform to Chris at the hospital on May 1, and he wore it with much delight. Unfortunately Chris lost his battle with leukemia only two days later.

Realizing Chris' joy at receiving his wish, his mother Linda worked with others to start a wish-granting organization. By January 1981, the Greicious MakeA-Wish Memorial was founded by Linda Pauling, Frank Shankwitz and Scott Stahl. The non-profit memorial later became the Make-A-Wish Foundation.