Frank Shankwitz, a co-founder of the Make-A-Wish charity and a former Arizona state trooper, has died.
The Make-A-Wish organization confirmed Shankwitz's death on Monday. He died at his home in Prescott, Ariz. of esophageal cancer. He was 77.
Make-A-Wish is known for granting the wishes of children dealing with critical illnesses. “Wishes” range from trips to day-long experiences.
The organization was created in 1980 after Shankwitz and five others helped a 7-year-old Phoenix boy battling leukemia be a highway patrol officer for a day. Shankwitz also initially served as president and CEO.
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The charity estimates it has helped realize the wishes of more than 500,000 children. It has grown to 60 chapters nationwide.
Shankwitz was a patrol officer with the Arizona Department of Public Safety from 1972 until his retirement in 1996, according to the state agency. He remained a reserve detective but also worked for the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division’s Office of Special Investigations. In all, he worked 42 years in law enforcement.