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Man With Dementia Was Forced To Stop Working, But That Hasn't Stopped Him From Helping Kids

Boyd Huppert/KARE 11

A Minnesota farmer has built a thousand wooden toys for needy children after discovering he suffers from an incurable disease.

John Volz was diagnosed earlier this year with Lewy body dementia, a malady that shares symptoms with both Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. When the 79-year-old found out, he was forced to stop working on his family farm, but he wasn't compelled to give up work altogether.

"I just don't stop that easy," John said.

For the past nine months, John has built colorful toy cars for less fortunate children, KARE 11 reports. Following Hurricane Harvey, John sent 450 toys to Houston, with plenty others to be distributed in a family shelter, a hospital and a mission in Arizona.

Minnesota Lake volunteer firefighters will also be delivering the handcrafted toys in Christmas stockings for children who would otherwise go without.

John's wife Chris Volz said she was pleased her husband found something new to motivate him.

Chris said her husband would spend eight to 15 hours a day on the farm, which is now run by their nephew, until the symptoms of his dementia started kicking in.

John has needed stitches on his forehead after falling twice, and has also found it more difficult to vocalize his thoughts. However, Chris said she's proud with the way John is adapting to his new lifestyle.

"I am so proud of him for what he does and so proud of the transition he's making," Chris said.

Despite building a thousand toy tractors, cars, and trucks, John doesn't plan on slowing down anytime soon.

"There's some more stuff that I want to make," John said, "when I get a little older, you know."

Would you like to have a handcrafted toy from John?

Maya has been working at Shared for a year. She just begrudgingly spent $200 on a gym membership. Contact her at maya@shared.com