Watch CBS News

Young patient at Children's Minnesota to bring truck obsession to "Day of the Dozers" benefit

Children's Minnesota patient to bring truck obsession to "Day of the Dozers"
Children's Minnesota patient to bring truck obsession to "Day of the Dozers" 02:10

ELK RIVER, Minn. -- A 4-year-old Twin Cities boy battling leukemia is about to get his day in the sun.

Fitz Loula will take part in Day of the Dozers this weekend, an event that benefits Children's Minnesota.

"There's no one. There's no one more obsessed with trucks than Fitz," said Stephanie Loula.

Stephanie estimates that her son already has 75 Tonka trucks and counting.

"He's got a play area in the back full of gravel. He can move them around and dig up his own things. It's a love that will never die," said Stephanie.

Nowadays, Fitz's playground is outside Children's Minnesota. That's because back in January, he was diagnosed with leukemia.

"You know as a mom that something just isn't right. I was sent down here and within a matter of hours, they knew his diagnosis," said Stephanie.

After months of chemotherapy, this 4-year-old heavy equipment enthusiast is about to be rewarded.

"The most important part is seeing the faces of these children," said Tony Frattalone of Frattalone Companies in St. Paul.

Tony and Matt Brenteson are among more than 30 different contractors who donate millions of dollars in machinery for Day of the Dozers. It'll take place this weekend at ERX Motor Park in Elk River.

At the event, kids get to ride inside all kinds of heavy equipment that they see out and about every day: Bulldozers, backhoes, and plenty of excavators.

RELATED: Children's Minnesota moves to get kids mental health help faster

"I'd call it an addiction. Once people come and do this and experience having those kids there with us, we're hooked. You're just hooked for life," said Matt, who owns Brenteson Companies in Elk River.

All the proceeds from the event go towards Children's Minnesota's new state-of-the-art neurosurgery suite.

"This is a game-changer because it allows surgeons to have that imaging in the moment, in real-time, and make the best decisions possible for those kids," said Brenda Beckwith, Senior Director of Surgical Services for Children's Minnesota.

But at least for one day, it's all about the dozers.

"He's been able to meet 100 plus construction workers and all of them have been so sweet and sympathetic and they just care," said Stephanie.

Fitz's mom says he's doing well right now and his cancer treatments will likely continue for another year and a half.

Day of the Dozers will take place this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.