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Looking for shooting stars, writing letters to Santa Claus, blowing out birthday candles–wishing is a part of childhood. And while all children deserve to have their dreams come true, wishes are perhaps most important to children suffering from terminal and life-threatening illnesses. In fact, a charity exists whose entire mission is to grant the wishes of these children: The Make-A-Wish Foundation.

In 1980, Chris Greicius was seven years old and undergoing treatment for leukemia. His dream was to become a police officer so that he “could catch bad guys.” News of Chris’ condition and his wish made its way to U.S. Customs Officer Tommy Austin, who worked with officers from the local Department of Public Safety (DPS) to make the young boy’s dream a reality. Austin and his colleagues took Chris for a ride in a patrol car and a police helicopter, presented him with an official, tailored police uniform, and had him sworn in as Arizona’s first and only honorary DPS officer.

Tragically, Chris died on May 3, 1980, but he inspired the people around him to do something incredible for ill children. Six months after his death, the Make-A-Wish Foundation was born, and it granted its first wish to Frank “Bopsy” Salazar–another seven-year old with leukemia–the following year.

Today, the Make-A-Wish Foundation is one of the largest charitable organizations in America, and it operates in 45 countries around the world. Over its 36-year lifetime, Make-A-Wish has granted over 270,000 wishes to children in the United States and, on average, grants a wish every 35 minutes.

Of course, Make-A-Wish isn’t hospital or medical organization. They don’t treat the children’s diseases, but nonetheless, they change their lives. Make-A-Wish understands that what makes the ultimate difference in people’s lives are opportunities–especially opportunities to make their dreams come true–which is why they strive to grant the wishes of children who truly deserve to have their lives changed.

At Windows USA, we believe in that philosophy, and we’re doing our part to help: Each year, we sponsor several families through Make-A-Wish, and last year, we helped make it possible for a child to visit Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. After all, an investment in making dreams come true is perhaps the best investment we can make.

For more information about our commitment to philanthropy, visit our website!