All Blacks stars Kieran Read and Jerome Kaino brightened the days of young fans battling cancer today.
The rugby heroes dropped in to the Christchurch Cancer Foundation's Family Place ahead of their Super Rugby clash in the city tomorrow night.
Child Cancer Foundation ambassadors Read and Kaino signed posters, posed for photos, tried on wacky wigs, and dabbed, chatted, and laughed with the youngsters and their families.
"Having kids myself, and having seen first-hand what the families go through, how much it alters their life in supporting their kids, for me I love being an ambassador for child cancer, and try to put my weight behind it," Blues father-of-three Kaino said.
His Crusaders counterpart, Read, said they were in a privileged position as All Blacks to be able to put some smiles on the faces of kids and their families.
"It's probably one of the best feelings in the world," he said.
Read says watching the brave kids battle cancer and stay positive gives him inspiration.
"It's pretty amazing to be a part of it, see the journey that the families go through and see the kids come out the other side, which is always nice."
Read and Kaino were themselves entertained by ten-year old Caleb Wright with his cheery demeanour and reel of "boy jokes".
Caleb was diagnosed with a brain tumour in February last year.
He was rushed into Christchurch Hospital for life-saving surgery and then up to Auckland, where surgeons worked to remove the remainder of the tumour.
The trauma of removing the tumour caused a brain injury, and Caleb has slowly had to regain normal everyday functions, like walking and eating.
But he is called "Caleb Crusader" by the specialists helping him because he works so hard on his rehabilitation - and he recently received a bike from Child Cancer Foundation and is riding again.
Because he was diagnosed at such a young age, Caleb still needs to have six monthly check-ups in case the tumour does come back.
Parents Jennie and Jeremy, and siblings Noah, 8, and 7-year-old Brooke also enjoyed time with the rugby legends.
"Things like this are great," said Jennie.
"Caleb has just been told that he would never be able to play rugby but he's back on the trampoline, and the Child Cancer Foundation just gave him a bike which he has been riding, which Caleb says makes him feel 'epic!'"
Child Cancer Foundation business development manager Lydia Hemingway said the appearance of Read and Kaino was a real boost for the families.
"We get great support from the wider community but it's especially great when these two guys can give a little bit of their time and make such a big difference."
About Child Cancer Foundation's March Appeal:
• Every week more than three children in New Zealand are diagnosed with cancer.
• This March, Child Cancer Foundation needs the help of everyday Kiwis to raise $750,000 to assist more than 500 families with children suffering from cancer in the hospital, at home, and in the community.
• Child Cancer Foundation receives no direct funding from Government, and relies on the generosity of New Zealanders to continue offer services that ensure children and their families are supported, informed and well cared for at every stage of their cancer journey.
• Child Cancer Foundation is a unique family-focused nationwide network that gives personalised support to each family through a one-to-one connection - someone who can help guide them every step of the way now, and in the future.
• Child Cancer Foundation's practical assistance aims to reduce the financial impact of cancer and strengthen the family unit to achieving the best possible outcome for a child with cancer.
• You can donate to the Child Cancer Foundation here: www.childcancer.org.nz
or to Child Cancer Foundation street collectors in your community on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th March.