Sporting stars surprise children

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 12:00 06/09/2012
Shane Cameron, Josh Kronfeld, Brandon Bingham-Tanner, Brodie Drummond and Bede Gallagher-Forbes
WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ

SURPRISE VISIT: Boxer Shane Cameron and former All Black Josh Kronfeld visit the Our Lady Of Lourdes primary school in Palmerston North. With the sporting heroes are, Brandon Bingham-Tanner, 10, Brodie Drummond, 9, and Bede Gallagher-Forbes, 9, who shaved their heads in support of friend and classmate Ollie Gillespie, who is undergoing treatment for cancer at Starship children's hospital.

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A Palmerston North schoolboy whose three best mates shaved their heads in support of children with cancer will return home today, narrowly missing out on a visit in his honour from two sporting stars.

Former All Black Josh Kronfeld and heavyweight boxer Shane Cameron paid a surprise visit to Our Lady of Lourdes School in Palmerston North yesterday, as part of their Puhoi to Wellington Choppers for Child Cancer motorcycle tour.

Three Kiwi kids are diagnosed with cancer every week, and Palmerston North Our Lady of Lourdes school pupils were looking forward to welcoming back one of their own today.

Ollie Gillespie, 9, has been receiving treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma, a form of blood cancer, at Auckland's Starship children's hospital since his diagnosis in May.

His best friends, Brandon Bingham-Tanner, 10, Brodie Drummond and Bede Gallagher-Forbes, both 9, shaved their heads on Daffodil Day last week, and were at the centre of a scrum of excited schoolyard fans welcoming the sporting identities as they dropped by on their week-long fundraising tour.

The trio raised more than $1000, given by people from Manawatu to Masterton, to donate to Starship children's hospital.

After learning of Ollie's story, Cameron and Kronfeld decided to pay a surprise visit to the school, bestowing special attention upon the three boys who swapped their blonde locks for baldness to raise funds.

The pair arrived in an entourage of Chopper motorbikes to a chorus from the schoolchildren, who launched into a rendition of folk comedy duo Flight of the Conchords' charity single Feel Inside (And Stuff Like That).

Ollie's mum Janet Reynolds said they would have their fingers crossed as they spent the next three weeks back home awaiting test results that would tell if Ollie's radiation therapy, completed yesterday, had blasted the tumours that had invaded his left lung.

Our Lady of Lourdes school teacher Rachel Kriechbaum taught all four boys, including Ollie, and said she was proud of them.

"Through seeing it happen to one of their own they have been able to grow and empathise," Ms Kriechbaum said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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