Lynley Bilby

Lynley Bilby is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Cancer poster girl's Shortland St cameo

Child Cancer Foundation ambassador Quinn Hautapu was thrilled to act with Amanda Billing. Photo / Matt Klitscher
Child Cancer Foundation ambassador Quinn Hautapu was thrilled to act with Amanda Billing. Photo / Matt Klitscher

The poster child for a new cancer campaign thought she was dropping in to the Shortland Street set to meet her favourite TV doctor - only to find she was lined up for a cameo role on the popular soap.

Child Cancer Foundation ambassador Quinn Hautapu was excited to find a relaxed catch-up at the Henderson television studio with soap star Amanda Billing also involved starring in a scene with her idol.

The 8-year-old was diagnosed with a crippling brain tumour last year, so the Palmerston North schoolgirl drew on her own experiences to easily slip into the role of a sick child waiting to be assessed by medical staff.

Quinn's battle with cancer began when she woke up paralysed in January last year and needed emergency surgery to remove a large blood clot.

Her treatment has included brain surgeries, 31 days of radiation, 20 days of chemotherapy and 160 days of physiotherapy to learn how to walk again.

The surprise at being in the TV show rates as one the best moments of the youngster's life. "The other was when I met Justin Bieber."

Billing, who will feature as a celebrity ambassador alongside Hautapu in next month's One Day for Child Cancer campaign, said it was a thrill to share the spotlight with courageous Quinn.

"I was impressed. She was very calm, she was focused and didn't upstage us all," said Billing.

Gallery: Special treatment for Child Cancer ambassador

The campaign, which encourages people to complete challenges to raise money for the foundation, will run throughout July.

Six high-profile New Zealanders, including All Blacks Jerome Kaino and Kieran Read, will be set individual, quirky challenges for the fundraiser. Whoever raises the most money by the end of the month will have to complete his or her challenge. Bernadine Oliver-Kerby will read the news in a onesie on NewsTalkZB for a day.

The foundation aims to raise $6million annually to help children with cancer and their families.

Quinn's Shortland Street performance will screen next month.

- Herald on Sunday

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