EDMONTON – An Edmonton teenager battling cancer is speaking out about his one of a kind encounter with Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds, who has the starring role in a movie based on the teen’s favourite comic, Deadpool.
“It was astonishing- I was speechless,” said 13-year-old Connor McGrath who is battling leukemia. “He’s a really nice guy.”
Reynolds’ latest movie Deadpool, opened across Canada on Friday but on the same day, the Vancouver-born actor posted to his Facebook account that Connor saw the movie before anybody else.
“Ladies, gentlemen, boys and girls. This is my friend, Connor McGrath. He’s quite possibly the biggest #Deadpool fan on earth,” the post read. “He was also the first person ever to see the Deadpool film. Like Wade Wilson, Connor’s trying to put cancer in his rearview mirror.”
Connor was granted a wish request by Make-A-Wish Northern Alberta and asked to go to a pre-screening of Deadpool in Los Angeles. The organization was able to make the arrangements, but the plans fell through at the last minute.
“We set up a trip for him to LA to see the pre-screening. Unfortunately, due to medical problems, he wasn’t able to actually make it to LA so we decided to bring Deadpool to him,” said Sophia Birchall, communications and medical outreach coordinator at Make-A-Wish Northern Alberta.
Connor ended up back in the Stollery Children’s Hospital for treatment and on Jan. 8, got the surprise of his life.
“I was walking down a pair of stairs and then he kind of like turned the corner and stood in front of me so I kind of just stood there like ‘whoa- that’s you,'” Connor said.
With just a handful of other people, Connor got to watch Deadpool with Reynolds and said when the actor left, he promised to keep in touch and held true to his word, exchanging emails over the past few weeks.
Because of its language and graphic violence, some consider Deadpool to be more of an adult comic but Connor owns all kinds of Deadpool collector’s items and said he has a simple reason for liking the franchise so much.
“He’s more of a dirtier, gritty, bloody kind of character,” he said.
In his Facebook post, Reynolds said that Connor is “the greatest” and that he donated money to help the boy battle cancer.
He also posted a link to a crowdfunding page called YouCaring.
According to the YouCaring page, Connor was diagnosed with leukemia in July 2013. The page says his cancer went into remission. However, the cancer has come back and Connor is now undergoing aggressive treatment. A search has also begun for a bone marrow transplant donor.
The page says McGrath’s family is now raising money so that if Connor’s treatments are not successful, he can undergo an experimental treatment in the United States that isn’t covered by Alberta Health.
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