Patients Become 'The Boss' at Construction vs. Cancer SoCal

Wed May 08, 2019 - West Edition #10
CEG



Aubrey (L) and Chloe Koch test out this Cat loader provided by Sukut Construction. Emery Kough (background) volunteered assisting kids in and out of loader.

Let's face it … all kids like to play in the dirt.

But, to play in the dirt, on a big machine, with your parents' permission? Well, that's when dreams really do come true and that's exactly what took place April 28, 2019, at the American Cancer Society's 2019 Construction vs. Cancer SoCal event in Anaheim, Calif., at Angel Stadium.

The event was designed to offer local pediatric cancer patients, survivors and families a day of fun and entertainment. The children, with adult supervision, were given the opportunity to experience driving, riding and operating several pieces of heavy construction equipment, such as excavators, loaders, trucks and scissor lifts.

Dozens of local equipment and construction companies were there to lend a hand.

Sunstate Equipment, based in Phoenix, Ariz., with a local branch in Anaheim, Calif., was happy to donate excavators, scissor lifts, parts and generators for the event. Brooks Davis, who manned the scissor lift, had a more personal reason to be there.

"As a cancer survivor myself, this means a lot to me," he said. "Just being able to watch the kids have fun makes it all worth it. It's funny … the kids love going up in the lift and they have no fear, but with some of the adults … it's a different story. I have to stop it early."

Sukut Construction of Orange County supplied a Caterpillar wheel loader and personnel to assist.

"Sukut always strives to make a difference, whether it's on a project or within a community," said Yevgenya Koch of Sukut Construction. "We look for things we can do to make the world around us a better place. Knowing that the American Cancer Society is one of the largest non-profits that fight cancer and has played a huge role in saving more than 1.5 million lives in the past two decades, we decided to join them so that we, too, can contribute to increasing this number. It was amazing to watch the kids' reactions. The kids loved the loader. Most of the kids in our area have never had a chance to sit inside one of these machines. Being able to climb inside and learn how to operate it made a huge difference in their experience. Seeing their faces when they were inside was a huge reward for us."

Darin Janikowski of Cemex's local branch in Ontario, Calif., was excited to be a first-time sponsor of the American Cancer Society.

"It means a lot to us to be here today helping in any way possible to benefit the organization," said Janikowski. "It's been a great day. The kids are excited to get in the truck cabs and blow the horn."

The fun did not stop there. The festivities also included live musical and dance acts, superhero appearances, Star Wars characters, face painters, a giant sand box and much more. The Orange County SWAT team, Anaheim Police Department and Anaheim Fire Department also were on hand providing helmet fittings and bike safety tips.

For many local pediatric cancer patients and their families, it was the first time to experience an event with such a large involvement from the construction industry.

Melissa and Brandon Davies of Orange County brought their eight-year-old son, Jack, to the event to experience the equipment up close.

"I've been working with Southland Industries for about five years and in the construction industry for about 15 years," said Brandon Davies. "About three years ago, Jack was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Tragedy hit home really hard and fast. The construction industry and Southland, in particular, have really been there for me and my family to help us get through a very hard time. Southland is like family to us and has always been there with their support. My union has supported us and people we didn't even know have reached out to us. We thought this would be a great opportunity for Jack to come out and see what Dad does for a living."

"We are fortunate in that the event is fully supported through our sponsor donations and contributions from the construction industry," said Renee Daniels, senior manager of the American Cancer Society.

Vice president of Southland Industries, Payman Farrokhyar added, "We wanted to show the softer side of construction. We all are affected by cancer one way or another. What people don't realize is the construction industry is a very giving industry. The fact that we could pull this event together so quickly speaks volumes for the industry."

"Today is all about the pediatric cancer patients," said Daniels. "We wanted to provide a fun day for the families and just have a great time. A lot of times they can't do fun things, so today is really about them."

Daniels attributed the success of the event to the volunteers and sponsors. Organizing for the event started in November 2018 and involved several hundred volunteer hours.

"If you're going to speak with any industry about logistics and planning, there is no better industry than the construction industry," said Daniels.

The American Cancer Society expressed its gratitude to the following event sponsors:

  • Southland Industries
  • Sukut Construction
  • Sunstate Equipment
  • The PENTA Building Group
  • HP Communications
  • Jacobsson Engineering Group
  • Envise
  • McCarthy
  • Bergelectric
  • Giroux Glass Incorporated
  • CEMEX
  • Architectural Coatings Inc.
  • Performance Contracting Inc.
  • Paulus Engineering Inc.
  • 95.9 The Fish
  • Griffith Company

For more information, call 800/227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

CEG

Melissa and Brandon Davies of Orange County brought their eight-year-old son, Jack, to the event to experience the equipment up close.
Melissa and Brandon Davies of Orange County brought their eight-year-old son, Jack, to the event to experience the equipment up close.

(L-R): Kristen Strauch, executive director, western region, American Cancer Society; Laura Nobles, volunteer committee; Paul Dutmer, director of LA The PENTA Building Group; Payman Farrokhyar, vice president, Southland Industries; and Renee Daniels, senior manager, American Cancer Society.
(L-R): Kristen Strauch, executive director, western region, American Cancer Society; Laura Nobles, volunteer committee; Paul Dutmer, director of LA The PENTA Building Group; Payman Farrokhyar, vice president, Southland Industries; and Renee Daniels, senior manager, American Cancer Society.

Aubrey (L) and Chloe Koch test out this Cat loader provided by Sukut Construction. Emery Kough (background) volunteered assisting kids in and out of loader.
Aubrey (L) and Chloe Koch test out this Cat loader provided by Sukut Construction. Emery Kough (background) volunteered assisting kids in and out of loader.

Children experience their first ride on a scissor lift supplied by Sunstate Equipment.
(www.CeCephoto.com photo)
Children experience their first ride on a scissor lift supplied by Sunstate Equipment. (www.CeCephoto.com photo)

A child reaches out to pet an on-duty horse with the Anaheim, Calif., Police Department.
(www.CeCephoto.com photo)
A child reaches out to pet an on-duty horse with the Anaheim, Calif., Police Department. (www.CeCephoto.com photo)

Sunstate Equipment’s scissor lift rides were a popular feature at the event.
(www.CeCephoto.com photo)
Sunstate Equipment’s scissor lift rides were a popular feature at the event. (www.CeCephoto.com photo)

A little boy experiences his first lesson on maneuvering a Bobcat supplied by Sunstate Equipment.
(www.CeCephoto.com photo)
A little boy experiences his first lesson on maneuvering a Bobcat supplied by Sunstate Equipment. (www.CeCephoto.com photo)

A child is at the controls of a John Deere excavator, courtesy of Sunstate Equipment.
(www.CeCephoto.com photo)
A child is at the controls of a John Deere excavator, courtesy of Sunstate Equipment. (www.CeCephoto.com photo)

Kids had fun playing in the giant sandbox equipped with hand-held excavator buckets for digging.
(www.CeCephoto.com photo)
Kids had fun playing in the giant sandbox equipped with hand-held excavator buckets for digging. (www.CeCephoto.com photo)