The early afternoon sunlight streams through the straw of Gregory’s farmer hat. The only thing brighter than the sun is his smile as he sits atop the big, red tractor. It’s just like his toys back home, only this time, it’s real.
In many ways, this is a dream come true for Gregory. He has always been happiest when he plays with his toy tractors. They remind him of the farms he has seen on TV, the ones he’d love to visit one day. He also wants to ride a tractor just like his dad. (Technically, his father drives a truck, not a tractor, but it’s all the same to Gregory.)
More than anything, tractors represent something for Gregory to look forward to. “He tells me he wants to be a tractor driver when he’s older, and I have hope that day will come for him,” his mother, Celia, says.
Her cautious optimism might be a result of Gregory’s situation. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2014. Because of complications, his eyesight is now almost completely gone and he has trouble walking.
Even with these challenges, Gregory doesn’t feel sad – he feels blessed. “He always tells us he has cancer, but he also reminds us he is in God’s hands and when we see him laughing and smiling we know he is,” his mother says. And his wish-granting volunteers hope to make Gregory feel more blessed by making his wish a reality.
An Extended Family on the Farm
March 22 is a big morning for Gregory as well as the people who support him. At 11 a.m., he travels to Toys“R”Us with his mother, father, and sister and two wish-granting volunteers, Silvana and Gracie. Gregory excitedly picks out a new bed while his sister hunts for craft supplies. The stop is just a prequel to the events later in the day.
Before long, the car is packed up with goodies and the posse is back on the road to The Original Manassero Farms where Gregory will become a true tractor driver. He is wearing denim overalls and sturdy shoes – just the things a real farmer would need.
Dan and Anne, the farm owners, are ready when Gregory and his supporters finally arrive. The couple has gone to great lengths to make them feel welcome on the farm, just like family. They offer all sorts of homemade treats – hot dogs, guacamole and chips, cookies, and their specialty … strawberry smoothies!
But the fun doesn’t stop there. To make his day extra special, Dan and Anne gift Gregory two sets of farmer outfits, one for warm and one for cold weather, as well as some toys. They haven’t forgotten his sister, either. She receives her very own garden bucket organizer to bring back home.
After all these gifts, Gregory is especially ready to ride the tractor around the farm. He takes his seat up high, smiling ear to ear, and Dan and Anne help him steer around the entire property. Anyone can tell from his laughter that he’s a tractor-driving natural!
At long last, the ride must come to an end, but Dan and Anne want to leave Gregory with one more memory of farm life. Gregory, his family and the wish-granting volunteers are given free rein to pick fresh strawberries on the farm. The group fills a whole basket with tasty treats that they can enjoy later that night.
And then, right before he leaves, Gregory gets one last surprise – an electric tractor to take home with him! Now, he can be a tractor driver any day of the week. He is beside himself with joy.
Reflecting back, the volunteers have no doubt that the tractor wish lifted Gregory’s spirits. “Seeing his smile was the best part of this day!!!!” Silvana writes.
Gregory’s parents also confirm the positive impact that the wish had. “I’m so happy to see my son smiling so much despite all that he is facing,” says his father, Gregorio, “a wish like this was a dream come true for our entire family.”