Make-A-Wish Arizona, Mesa PD encouraging kids to stay hopeful while wishes are postponed

In 1980, a 7-year-old boy named Chris was diagnosed with leukemia.

Even at his young age, Chris knew he wanted to become a police officer, and this dream would inspire the start of Make-A-Wish Arizona.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, that dream inspired a Make-A-Wish volunteer to reach out to Valley officers to encourage other Wish Kids to keep dreaming.

The organization teamed up with Mesa police officers to offer a message of strength and hope.

"A lot of wishes have been postponed due to COVID-19, and so we are doing these messages of hope to encourage them to keep wishing - that their wishes are not postponed, but hope is not cancelled," said Make-A-Wish volunteer Chelsey McHale.

McHale reached out to officer Josh Gustafson, knowing he would step up to help the kids.

"I thought, 'What better way to show some community support than reach out to some of my squadmates?' " said Gustafson.

The officers and K9s made a video letting the kids know their wishes will come true.

"We had 8 officers, and our K9s who came out and helped us out with this video jumped on ... the opportunity as soon as they were asked to," said Gustafson. "They were all excited and looked forward to doing this."


To this day, Chris is the only civilian ever to be sworn in as an honorary DPS officer.

Make-A-Wish Arizona is granting about 10 to 20 wishes a month because of coronavirus restrictions. The organization wants to make sure kids are safe because many have compromised immune systems.

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