Always at his mother's side, Frank Shankwitz spent much of his childhood on the move, frequently hungry and forever homeless. They moved around the country, sleeping in the family car as they ventured from one city to another in search of gainful employment. Frank remembers vividly those who went out of their way to show kindness and compassion. In every way, these acts of kindness fueled Frank's journey. Without knowing it at the time, the selfless generosity of those around him would become the foundation on which Frank would build his legacy.
Journey with Frank as he shares the story of his legacy; a life rooted in kindness, near-misses and close calls. A life centered around the magic of making wishes come true.
About the Author
Frank "Wish Man" Shankwitz has dedicated his life to the service of others. From small and humble beginnings, Frank went on to do big and amazing things. He served his country in the United States Air Force, worked in the private sector at a Fortune 500 company , protected the public as a highway patrol officer and homicide detective, and was a founder and first CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Frank was one of the primary officers from the Arizona Highway Patrol responsible for granting the "wish" of Chris, a 7-year-old boy dying of leukemia. Chris wanted to be a highway patrol motorcycle officer like his heroes, Ponch and John from the television show "CHiPs". In the spring of 1980, Chris was made the first and only Honorary Arizona Highway Patrol Officer in the history of the AHP, complete with a custom-made uniform, badge, and Motor Officer Wings. A few days after being 'deputized', Chris succumbed to his illness. With full honors and Frank leading the funeral processional on his motorcycle - red and blue lights flashing - Chris received a full police escort to his final resting place in Illinois.
Chris was the inspiration for Frank's idea to start a non-profit foundation that would let children 'make a wish' and help turn those dreams into reality. Today, Frank travels the United States and the world speaking about his life and his mission to help children. His inspirational message led to Forbes Magazine naming him the #1 Keynote Speaker of 2016. Frank, and his wife, Kitty, reside in Prescott, Arizona, along with his two adult daughters, three grandchildren, and one great-grandson residing in Ohio.