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Illinois Boy Battling Cancer Gets Dream Tour of John Deere Facility

ILLINOIS  -  An Illinois battling cancer had an early Christmas wish come true.

Johnny Becker is a lifelong John Deere fan, and as WQAD's Megan Noe reports, the 11-year-old from Pontiac got the red carpet treatment at John Deere Harvester Works, the largest combine facility in the world.

"He chose to visit us, and it's truly very humbling, and it's something we pull out all the stops for," said a John Deere employee.

"My dad farms and my brother in law, so Johnathan's been around farm equipment, and my husband owns a lawncare landscaping business, so we have all John Deere mowers and John Deere tractors," said Marie Becker, Johnny's mother.

It's a welcome break for the Becker family before Johnny starts his eighth round of chemo for a brain tumor.

"It's pretty exciting to just spend time with family and to see him smile," said Marie.

And it wouldn't be a good tour without some surprises along the way, as Johnny got a chance to lend a hand on the production line. He also got some new gifts and saw the process of a combine being built from start to finish. The paint department even programmed a robot to spell out his name.

It was a day all about smiles and support.

"These poor kids, they've been dealt a bad blow," said employee Randy Parker. "And you know, we try to keep in touch with 'em after they leave, you know, it's kinda like we take 'em in our family."

Whatever comes next, Johnny will have his John Deere family cheering him on.

Johnny's tumor is inoperable, and he starts chemo again on Wednesday. His mom says he's doing very well, though, and stays busy trying to keep up with his brothers.