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STORIES

The first "wish child"
The Make-A-Wish Foundation learned about Frank "Bopsy" Salazar when he was 7 years old. A quiet, thoughtful, and very religious child, Bopsy was diagnosed with leukemia two years earlier, but did not allow his illness to deter his appreciation for life.
 At inception, the philosophy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation was to grant one wish for a child. But Bopsy couldn't make up his mind - he had three wishes. He was unable to decide whether he wanted to be a fireman, ride in a hot air balloon, or go to Disneyland. Bopsy was not doing very well, and it was determined that he was to receive all three wishes. One phone call to the Phoenix Fire Department and the wheels were in motion to make Bopsy's first wish a reality. The Phoenix Fire Department made sure Bopsy had an experience truly befitting a fireman - making him the first honorary fireman in Phoenix history. A full uniform, complete with a yellow coat and a helmet, was custom made just for him. Bopsy scrambled around the back of Engine 9's
ladder truck, and turned on the horn. Following the ride, he doused a few cars with water from a 75-pound hose. At the end of the day, Bopsy was pinned with an official firefighter's badge. Bopsy was a full-fledged
fireman - but his wish experience was far from over.

Once again, one phone call and Bopsy's wish to ride in a hot-air balloon also came true. The Foundation contacted Chris and Bob Pearce, hot-air balloon pilots and owners. They were more than happy to offer their
assistance, and their balloon.

"I'm Going to Disneyland"
Frank Shankwitz contacted representatives at Disneyland, informed them about Bopsy's situation, and asked for their assistance. Disneyland agreed to
create a special day for Bopsy - complete with private tours, meals, gifts,and other amenities. This marked the beginning of the Make-A-Wish Foundation's magical relationship with Disney. Nearly 20 years later,
visiting a Disney park remains the Foundation's most requested wish, and Disney continues to be one of the Foundation's largest supporters. Bopsy's condition worsened not long after returning from California, and he
had to return to the hospital. As he slept in his third floor room, someone suddenly knocked on his window and opened it, and in came five of his fellow Phoenix firemen. They had parked their ladder truck below. As his colleagues continued to crawl through the window, Bopsy - now fully awake - could not
contain his laughter. Bopsy shared a few laughs and stories with his friends before going back to sleep, with a smile on his face. Later that evening, Bopsy passed away - but not before seeing all three of his fondest wishes come true. Make-A-Wish Foundation
 www.wish.org

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