CHESTERFIELD, Mo. – Like most 8-year-old boys, Luca Gruszka is full of energy.
And within the last two years, he has gotten more into sports, which is why going to Francis Howell for a basketball game didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary. But Katya Gehrin, the president of Francis Howell's Make A Wish club, had ideas.
"I think it's going to be shock," Gehrin said when asked how she thinks Luca would respond to getting his four-year wish, a trip to Legoland.
Once the girls game was over, and much to Luca’s surprise, he became the main event.
"We have out here tonight, joining me... This is Luca," said the public address announcer. "Luca, how you doing tonight?" Luca's response, "Good."
With his Mom and Dad eagerly watching from the sideline, Luca’s dream was about to become a reality. All he had to do was wave his wish wand and say these six words.
“I want to go to Legoland.”
Just like that Luca’s wish was granted, as Rascal Flatt’s “My Wish” infused the gym. Gehrin knew Luca was more than deserving, after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in December of 2016.
“He’s very positive," added Gehrin. "He really doesn't have a negative attitude towards anything.”
Luca doesn't just like Legos, he loves Legos, and it's easy to see. In the basement of his home, he and his family have essentially built a little Legoland of their own. There are three tables and three shelves that hold everything from airplanes to dinosaurs to people. However, there’s so much more that goes into putting each brick together.
“I was at the hospital for awhile and I kept getting Legos as gifts because of my fingers," said Luca. "They um, were getting?” He then looked up at his mom.
“The vincristine that he got as a part of his chemo made his fingers shake a lot," said Angela Gruszka. "Which was what he was trying to explain.”
Then Luca added, "Legos actually helped me take care of it."
Legos now serve a new purpose in the Gruszka’s lives. They’re no longer just a toy to play with. They help Luca.
“If he gets up in the morning, he’ll come right down here," said Angela. "This is where he goes. This is his happy place.”
Which is why Angela doesn’t mind if an entire room in the family’s basement is consumed by Legos. She'll admit though, it did take some getting used to.
“You know when he first started getting into Legos I was very annoyed," she said. "I stepped on them. They broke. I couldn’t figure out how to rebuild them. It was very, very challenging. Now he can rebuild them by himself when he breaks them so we’ve come a long way.”
He even replicated St. Louis Children’s Hospital out of Legos. It’s where he was first diagnosed. It's also where he'll continue to fight until April of 2020.