Frank Shankwitz, co-founder and the first president of Make-A-Wish®, recently passed away at the age of 77 at his home in Prescott, Arizona.
Make-A-Wish® was founded in 1980 after Shankwitz, an Arizona Highway Patrol officer, assisted in helping Christopher James Greicius, a terminally ill boy, realize his dream of becoming a motorcycle cop.
On a local level, Make-A-Wish® Hudson Valley has granted the wishes of more than 2,900 children in the Hudson Valley region with critical illnesses since 1986, including many in the Monroe area.
Monroe Town Supervisor Tony Cardone said Shankwitz’s impact on the lives of countless children will forever be felt in Monroe and surrounding communities.
Over the years, many local events have supported the mission of Make-A-Wish in order to provide strength, hope and transformation in a wish child and community. Some recent events which have benefited the organization include Heroes for a Cure and the Town of Monroe Food Truck Festival.
Additionally, with Make-A-Wish as the guiding force, the Kids Changing the World club was formed in 2014 at Monroe-Woodbury High School by students Gina Cardone and Emily Thatcher with the assistance of teacher, Holly Martucci to help kids learn the value of giving back to their community. Past projects have included raising funds to sponsor a local wish child.
Cardone, the Monroe supervisor, remains active in the Make-A-Wish organization, where he spent six years as a board member, serving as chair for one year.
Cardone met with Shankwitz at the national Make-A-Wish convention in 2012, an experience he described as a “full-circle moment.”
“After volunteering for many years as both a wish granter and board member, the opportunity to meet and converse with the individual responsible for bringing so much joy to children facing the challenges of critical illnesses was beyond humbling,” Cardone said. “It was a full-circle, inspiring moment which reaffirmed the importance of the work of the organization and the value of giving back to those in need.”
Cardone interacted with Shankwitz on a yearly basis at the Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley Gala and was proud to call him friend for the past eight years.
Cardone credits the Make-A-Wish co-founder and Christopher Greicius for their influence in establishing the Town’s current motto of “Make An Impact.”
For more information on making an impact through Make-A-Wish, visit https://wish.org/hudson or call (914) 478-9474.