EAST MOLINE, Illinois -- An Illinois boy who is battling cancer received the red carpet treatment at a John Deere factory.
On Monday, December 3, employees at John Deere Harvester Works pulled out all the stops for Johnny Becker, an 11-year-old from Pontiac, Illinois.
"He chose to visit us, and it's truly very humbling," said David Thompson, a machine repairman, "We've got everything from signs to shirts to toys for him."
Becker has always been a big fan of farming and John Deere. His grandpa and uncle farm, and his dad, Matt, owns a lawn care and landscaping company. All of them use John Deere mowers, tractors and equipment.
Unfortunately, Johnny is also battling cancer in the form of an inoperable brain tumor.
This visit was a welcome break for the Becker family before Johnny starts his eighth round of chemotherapy on Wednesday.
"It's pretty exciting to just spend time with family and to see him smile," said Marie Becker, Johnny's mom.
Tour guides led Becker and his three siblings on a private tour of the factory, showing them how a combine is made. Along the way, employees threw in a few extra gifts and surprises.
In the paint department, workers even programmed the robotic arm to spell "Johnny" on a piece of paper.
"That was really cool," said Becker.
The goal, workers said, was to let Johnny have some fun and show him how many people are cheering him on.
"These poor kids, they've been dealt a bad blow. We try to keep in touch with them after they leave, you know, it's kind of like we take them into our family," said Randy Parker, a 40-year Deere employee.
Johnny's mom says he has been handling treatment well so far, and despite several rounds of chemo, he's still determined to stay active and keep up with his brothers.