Battling cancer is a hard enough journey for anyone let alone a hockey-mad 10-year-old boy.
So when Harrison Mundy was surprised with a visit from former Black Stick and current regional representative Stephen Graham, the Papamoa boy was able to, for a few moments, forget how sick he is.
Harrison was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in June and has been in and out of Auckland's Starship Children's Hospital for treatment.
The Bay of Plenty Times shared Harrison's story in July, sparking Graham to contact the paper to arrange a visit. But unplanned hospital trips and hockey games meant neither Graham or Harrison were in the same city at the same time, until yesterday.
Harrison's dad, well-known surf lifesaver Allan Mundy, said his son has been struggling in his recovery after chemotherapy but Graham's visit helped revitalise Harrison and his dreams of playing hockey again.
"Harrison really wants to be a goalie and when he found out that Stephen was a goalie, he just went 'oh cool' and they chatted away," Mr Mundy said.
Graham also gave Harrison his Black Sticks singlet and a Bayleys Midlands Hockey shirt from 2000, the year Midlands won the National Hockey League.
"The last couple of weeks have been really hard. He's lost a bit of weight and a visit like this has made a massive difference," Mr Mundy said.
Harrison was already talking about next season's hockey "with a real vigour in his voice", Mr Mundy said. "[It is] a big turnaround since he missed all of this season's hockey."
Graham said he read Harrison's story and saw how passionate Harrison was about the sport, so he wanted to do what he could to help.
"When you are faced with situations like this, it's quite nice to give people like this something extra special."
Harrison was training for the Omanu Sticks in June when he fell, complaining of pain to his little finger and arm afterwards. Medical checks in the days that followed revealed he had a tumour..