Warriors grant dying fan's wish

FRANCES FERGUSON
Last updated 08:20 01/09/2014
 Wendy Pettifer
MARK TAYLOR/Fairfax Nz
FANZONE: Wendy Pettifer shares a moment with Warriors player jerome Ropati in her Huntly home.

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A wish to meet a Warriors rugby league star has come true for a Huntly woman dying of cancer.

Hardcore Warriors fan Wendy Pettifer, 56, can now tick that dream off her bucket list.

Pettifer got more than she bargained for when her family took her to watch her beloved Warriors play the Sydney Roosters eight days ago at Mount Smart Stadium.

Proudly dressed in her Warriors "onesie" and armed with a Hospice Waikato "Go the Warriors" banner, she was over the moon when her son Matthew spotted injured Jerome Ropati and a few of his fellow teammates sitting just rows behind them.

When the game was finished, Ropati came down to speak to Pettifer, taking photos and signing her shirt.

Then Ropati told Matthew he wanted to visit and spend time with her.

That happened on Friday when Ropati and team-mate Glen Fisiiahi went to Huntly to meet Pettifer in her home.

She was overwhelmed. They spent the morning talking and laughing, sharing photos and Warriors memorabilia the family had collected over the years.

"I am amazed, just honoured," Pettifer said. "I asked about some of the other players and what's going to happen in the next few rounds - just kinda shooting the breeze really."

Pettifer has breast cancer. In 2008 she was treated for cancer in her left breast and given the all-clear, but she fell ill in February last year. Sadly the cancer has spread to her brain.

While relaxing on the couple's sofa, Ropati said he jumped on board once he heard Pettifer's story.

"I was flattered when I heard she requested me personally. I thought ‘yeah I'm gonna jump on it' and come down and spend time with her.

"She's been a huge supporter for me, any person that supports the Warriors is worthy of our attention. She certainly has deserved that."

Fisiiahi revealed during the catch-up that he had lost his sister to cancer.

"I jumped in (to visit Pettifer) because last year my sister died of a similar thing. That's life I guess. I'm just happy to be here."

Pettifer is at home with her husband spending what the doctors have said are her last few weeks.

But she still has two more wishes left on her bucket list: To ride in a pre-1972 red Mustang and to make it to the couple's 25th wedding anniversary in February. 

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