A 3-year-old California boy who has spent the past year battling cancer had his dream come true Tuesday by spending the day at a real, live construction site.
Renzo Lombardi of Seaside, California, was named honorary foreman at ground zero of a high-rise apartment building in San Francisco, where he was carried around by the site’s real foreman and got to “operate” a crane himself.
“The people kind of made him a little nervous at first but as soon as the foreman got him in with the construction equipment, he lit up,” Renzo’s dad, Vince Lombardi, told ABC News. “His mom and I were nonexistent at that time.”
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“He was waving and smiling, which was wonderful to see because most of his second year of life, we were locked down at home,” Lombardi said.
Doctors discovered a 3-pound Wilms’ tumor on Renzo’s left kidney in June of last year. He underwent surgery to remove both his tumor and his left kidney and then spent about 20 weeks undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
He received the “all-clear” from his doctors in December, according to his dad, and has now stopped chemotherapy and is back to normal toddler activities like playing with friends and watching his favorite “Mighty Machines” videos.
It was those videos, and the sight of garbage trucks, dump trucks and “basically any kind of truck,” according to Lombardi, that got Renzo hooked on construction and tools from very early on.
When Make-a-Wish Greater Bay Area heard Renzo’s wish to be a construction site foreman, they reached out to two local companies - Swinerton Builders and Trinity Properties - that granted them access to the high-rise construction site.
“Right now it’s kind of a big excavation site, so some of what he was doing was using the digger for excavation for the building’s garage,” Jen Wilson, marketing director for Make-a-Wish Greater Bay Area, told ABC News.
Renzo also got to leave a permanent mark on his Make-a-Wish day by helping to pour concrete and then making a special concrete tile with his name and handprint, according to Wilson.
Renzo’s dad, Lombardi, a firefighter in nearby Monterey, says he and his family are in awe of what Make-a-Wish did for not just Renzo but kids everywhere. The Make-a-Wish Greater Bay Area chapter alone grants over 300 requests per year.
“I’ve seen what they do for others, but to see it with Renzo, that organization is amazing,” Lombardi said. “They do amazing stuff for kids.”