Fulfilling wishes with the help of license plates

By John LaBarbera / ADOT Communications

Make-A-Wish Arizona specialty plateIn the spring of 1980, a group of six kind-hearted people helped an 8-year-old boy with leukemia realize his wish of becoming a police officer.

That boy was Chris Greicius and, for one day, he became a state trooper for the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Chris joined troopers on highway patrols and in the sky in a helicopter, all while wearing his very own uniform. Over the course of that day, DPS put Chris through “training” and pinned him as an honorary DPS trooper. 

Chris passed away just four days later, but the team that helped make his wish to be a police officer come true didn’t want that spirit to fade away. So, they made it their mission to bring that same sense of strength, hope and joy to other children in need. That’s how Make-A-Wish was born.

“During his wish day, Chris was not a kid with leukemia, he was a trooper!” said Hollie Costello, vice president of marketing and public relations for Make-A-Wish Arizona. “He was strong and capable and asked questions and laughed hard – he was a kid again.”

Today, there are 59 Make-A-Wish chapters nationwide and 31 affiliates around the globe. The Arizona chapter of this world-renowned organization serves children dealing with life-threatening critical illnesses, from cancer to nervous system disorders, from kids who received transplants to kids who live with cystic fibrosis.

Arizona is the founding chapter of the Make-A-Wish organization and also is the first to sponsor its own license plate when, in December 2021, the Make-A-Wish Arizona specialty license plate became available. Costello is hopeful that this is the beginning of a trend that other chapters will follow.

“Make-A-Wish Arizona is always looking for sustainable options for fundraising to support our planned fundraising opportunities as wishes never stop,” Costello said. “By giving our wish kids the opportunity to focus on what they would wish for, we give them control over their future and give them hope of happiness that is focused on their needs and wishes.”

There are more than 500 children who are currently working with the organization to plan their wishes and more kids get qualified every month, thanks to Make-A-Wish’s strong relationships with medical professionals, Costello said. 

“The plate benefits wish kids,” Costello said. “The average cost of a wish is approximately $10,000, so to grant the number of wishes we grant every year, there is a great need for funding for the various wishes we grant.”

Make-A-Wish ChildrenChildren like 10-year-old Luis, who lives with a critical genetic disorder. He wished to have an online shopping spree and Hollie reports that Luis “had a full and happy day when all of the items he requested turned up for him to open. According to his mom, Luis uses his items daily and is more outgoing and happier since his wish.”

Michael, 9, wished for a very specific tilt stroller that enables him to enjoy time outside with his family safely and has expanded what he and his family can do for fun. 

And 18-year-old Danya, who, Costello gushed, triumphed over leukemia. “Her wish to have her book published has inspired not only the Make-A-Wish team who assisted her but also many future wish kids who are dealing with finding hope after diagnosis.”

The new specialty license plate is only one way folks can support Make-A-Wish Arizona. You can volunteer your time and even donate directly.

The Make-A-Wish Arizona specialty license plate is available for $25 annually, with $17 going to create life-changing wishes for Arizona children dealing with critical illnesses. 
View all specialty plates and order yours at azmvdnow.gov.