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Wish Nation

Wish Wednesday - Playing in the Dirt

Keegan walks tall with his fellow loggers
Clean, white walls. Stiff beds. Sterile, metal instruments. If this was your world, the desire to be outside, to have dirt under your fingernails and a tool belt around your waist can be powerful. These three wish kids simply wanted to play in the dirt and were transformed into construction workers and loggers in the process.

Three-year-old Renzo from Seaside, Calif., can name nearly every tool in his dad’s toolbox. Tools and trucks have become a type of therapy for Renzo and his family since he was diagnosed with Wilms tumor. His wish to be a construction foreman allowed the family to spend the day together on the site of Graniterock’s A.R. Wilson Quarry. On July 8, Renzo dressed in his construction gear, climbed into the seat of a few monstrous machines – with formidable names like the Caterpillar 777D, D-11 dozer and Krupp crusher – and eagerly grabbed the controls. These were certainly bigger than any of the toy trucks Renzo has at home. And the sight of a 3-year-old construction foreman in a safety vest that reaches to his knees would make anyone smile. Go ahead, try not to.

Just a month before, another 3-year-old with very similar interests donned a hard hat. Across the country in New Hampshire, William spends his playtime with toy trucks and tractors. “He’s obsessed with everything to do with construction and tools and trucks,” William’s mom, Michelle, told local media. To grant this builder’s wish to be a real construction worker, Make-A-Wish partnered with the Greater Manchester Habitat for Humanity and hosted William at one of the homes volunteers were remodeling. He put finishing touches on the house and tinkered with a miniature tool bench along with family, friends, volunteers and a surprise visitor – Bob the Builder. With a hammer in his hand and a hard hat on his head, William could forget about his cancer and the chemotherapy treatments ahead of him.

And this week we’re hearing about 6-year-old Keegan who proudly trekked through a cleared forest in Essex County, Vt. with fellow lumberjacks. Keegan’s wish to be a logger and his unparalleled expression captured the attention of local media. Keegan, who has muscular dystrophy, loves turning on the TV to “Ice Road Truckers” and “Ax Men” on the History Channel. The Plum Creek Timber loggers were equally excited to meet this budding “ax man” and actually shut down their operations for the day to accommodate his wish. Keegan got to get his boots dirty, operate a log loader and feel like a real lumberman. Timber! 

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