The Make-A-Wish Foundation is one of the world’s largest non-profits and has granted life-changing wishes for nearly half a million sick and dying children around the world. However, few people have ever known about the inspiring and often times difficult life of Frank Shankwitz, who started the non-profit in 1980.
Shankwitz’s life story is the focus of a newly released feature filmed called “Wish Man”, that chronicles his upbringing and early career as a motorcycle patrol officer with Arizona Highway Patrol. From an early age, Frank was torn between his mother, who kidnapped him and kept him away from his loving father who he would eventually reconnect with decades later with shortly before founding Make-A-Wish.
The overall message and theme of the film was not just having faith in people, but having faith in your ability to help others and do something meaningful with your life. About putting positive energy out there to others, even when you might not be in the greatest of places.
Like many of us, Frank had his struggles throughout his life. He even had a near death experience after a collision with a intoxicated motorist, after which he was pronounced dead on the scene before being revived by an off-duty nurse who just happened to be driving by. The Epoch Times published an amazing interview with Shankwitz in September.
Several years later, Frank would start the Make-A-Wish Foundation after granting his first wish to a 7-year old boy dying of Leukemia who was fascinated with the show Chips and wanted to be a motorcycle cop like Frank. Since then, Make-A-Wish has granted wishes to 400,000 kids across the world. President Trump even granted a wish to a young man during his time as the host of his hit TV-show The Apprentice, where he allowed him to be a contestant.
Without ruining the film, it’s important to note how wholesome and family oriented it is. It has become increasingly rare, if not impossible to find films like “Wish Man” that can get their message across without being vulgar or unnecessarily graphic. These films are placed on a Hollywood blacklist of sorts and often don’t get the same media attention as projects from big productions houses or well connected members of the Hollywood elite who have been exposed for embracing everything from sexual assault to pedophilia.
David Lugo of El Ride Productions helped produce the film and told TGP that it’s very hard for smaller independent films with wholesome messages that are rooted in faith and serving a cause greater than yourself to break through the noise in Hollywood.
“To us, Wish Man is a film about faith and believing in something bigger than yourself. It puts aside all trivial issues and focuses on what matters the most, helping people. That’s what drew us to the project. Unfortunately, in this environment, indie films such as this are overlooked regardless of the power behind its message.”
You can now watch Wish Man for free on Netflix or purchase it other platforms like Amazon Video and Google Play.