Matthew Theunissen

Matthew Theunissen is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Chace loses cancer battle

Chace Topperwien.
 Photo / Supplied
Chace Topperwien. Photo / Supplied

Toddler won hearts with his pluck.

Toddler Chace Topperwien has died after a brave battle with leukaemia. His parents Ryan and Keri Topperwien said that their "beautiful bubba" had passed away "as peacefully as we could have ever wished in between his mummy and daddy in our bed".

"Time to go play with great Koko now, he has the meanest hammers and tools, and we told him to have the coolest go kart waiting for you," they said in a post on Facebook.

"No more mamae darling, time for a sleep now."

The Hamilton 3-year-old, who was diagnosed with a rare form of the disease just before his second birthday, won hearts around the country for his courageous fight against cancer.

In April, Chace and his parents flew to Britain to take part in a drug trial at the Royal Marsden Hospital near London. Rich-listers Owen Glenn and Eric Watson contributed $25,000 each towards the trip.

But just weeks later, they made the heartbreaking decision to bring their boy home, cutting short the expensive drug trial they hoped would save his life because he was in too much pain. The family had hoped the UK treatment would fight the cancer long enough for Chace to have a second bone marrow transplant, his best chance of survival.

"There is no chance of another transplant," Topperwien told the New Zealand Herald this month.

The couple used alternative medicines which they said had boosted the youngster's energy.

The Topperwiens put their professional lives on hold when Chace was diagnosed, and said they were glad to be spending each day with their boy.

This week Keri Topperwien said that support from her thousands of online followers had helped her through some of her darkest days.

"This [Facebook] page has in a sense been my refuge, a place to gain positivity when my stocks get low.

"A way to remind myself just how much support we have. But I will now hand over to other whanau, this is by no means me giving up. I will never. But there becomes a point where the pain in my heart is overbearing."

The news of his death had attracted 1500 Facebook comments by yesterday afternoon.

- APNZ

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