July 16, 2014
Graniterock had its youngest team member hard at work on July 8: Renzo, a 3-year-old Seaside, Calif. The tyke suffers from Wilm’s tumor, a rare form of kidney cancer that often strikes children during their preschool years. During play time, Renzo likes to build a construction yard in his backyard from his trucks, tools, and diggers. Through the efforts of Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area and Graniterock, he was able to see a life-size version come to life.
The two organizations planned out the day in order to simulate a true experience of being a construction foreman. A big rig transfer truck picked Renzo up from his home and drove him to Graniterock’s A.R. Wilson Quarry in Aromas.
While at the quarry, he got up-close experience with the construction machines he has been fascinated with since he was a baby. “Since Renzo was 10-months-old, he has had an unbelievable imagination and fascination with Mighty Machines,” his mom, Crystal, says. Mighty Machines is a DVD set that uses real footage of heavy equipment machines to show how they are used.
At the site, he had a front row seat on several mighty machines, including a Caterpillar 777D, a D-11 dozer, and a Krupp crusher, which Graniterock says is the world’s largest rubber-tired mobile rock crusher. He also operated a remote-controlled diesel train engine and toured the quarry’s truck repair shop. “We had a fantastic time showing Renzo our quarry and all the heavy equipment that makes it operate,” says Shanna McCord Crigger, director of content for Graniterock. “He really had a blast.”
Renzo has been fascinated with tools and trucks since he was a baby, his parents report. Despite his age and illness, Renzo can explain the use of nearly every tool in his father’s toolbox. Renzo and his father – a firefighter – often use the tools to work on his dad’s motorcycle. “This was an amazing therapy for both of them,” his mother says.
“There is nothing more delightful than being able to witness a young child experience their fondest wish,” says Patricia Wilson, executive director of Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area. “Renzo has loved construction trucks since he was an infant.” She adds that his parents say the experience helped keep his mind off treatments.