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Current as of 31/10/14 07:40PM NZST

Stars help make kids' wishes come true

By Craig Borley

Mementos of New Zealand's sporting stars have been gifted to the country's most unwell children, to help grant them their wishes.

Starting today, the Make a Wish sporting memorabilia auction will offer 35 items - including All Blacks, Tall Blacks and Kiwis shirts - up for grabs on online auction site Trade Me until August 10.

Internationally significant items abound too, including an autographed yearbook of Leeds United's 1969 champion team, a rugby ball signed by the 2007 Wallabies, and a Manchester United shirt signed by Portuguese star winger Cristiano Ronaldo.

The items have been donated to help Make a Wish continue its work. Last year, 162 wishes were granted to critically ill New Zealand children, at a cost of more than $1 million.

Make a Wish volunteer Jonathan Sweeney, who thought up the auction, said the children who received the wishes were given the chance to forget about their illnesses while enjoying their families' company.

"It just makes such a difference to their lives. The kids have said it was the day that they forgot what was happening to them."

Mr Sweeney himself donated a prized All Black shirt from the conquering 1996 tour to South Africa - signed by that All Black team.

Former All Black lock Ian Jones, a senior member of the 1996 team, said it was fitting the jersey was going to help children see their wishes come true.

- NZ Herald

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