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passing time (live) // heffron drive & logan henderson 04/30/15

An American boy band star has flown around the world to surprise a terminally ill Timaru fan.

Grace Hooke, 8, was diagnosed with genetic disorder Neurofibromatosis type 1 – NF1 for short – in September, and has been in and out of chemotherapy fighting to shrink two brain tumours ever since.

Given just months to live, her biggest dream was to meet her hero, Kendall Schmidt of American band Big Time Rush.

Thanks to the Make A Wish Foundation, Grace got to do just that.

Schmidt flew from America to New Zealand last week, surprising Grace in Christchurch on Friday.

Grace’s mum, Tracy Hooke, said the visit was “just amazing”.

“I knew what her wish was, I didn’t even have to ask. She’s loved Big Time Rush for years.

"Make A Wish said to go big, but I never thought it would happen.”

Schmidt spent the weekend with Grace and her family, before flying back to America on Sunday.

“He’s a lovely person,” Hooke said.

“An incredibly sincere, warm, giving person.”

The visit came as a total surprise to Grace.

“We played a wee trick on her, we told her she was going to be able to Skype him.

"He walked in, and she ran up off the couch and threw herself at him. That’s where she stayed all weekend, glued to his side.”

Grace was even rescued by her hero during the visit.

Grace, Schmidt, and Grace’s parents were at a friend’s house when a severe earthquake hit Christchurch on Sunday afternoon.

Schmidt immediately picked Grace up and ran downstairs with her, Hooke said.

“He won’t forget us and he won’t forget New Zealand, we gave him the worst earthquake he’s ever experienced,” she said with a laugh.

The visit had made Grace’s dreams come true, Hooke said.

“It’s so cool for our little girl.”

Schmidt also recorded a personalised video message for Grace in December.

Grace was due to return home to Timaru early next week, after undergoing surgery to have a cyst in her brain drained on Monday morning.

Things had been looking up for Grace, but when she began to experience headaches and vomiting shortly before Christmas, her mum knew that something was wrong.

An MRI scan in Christchurch confirmed the worst. One of Grace’s tumours had grown substantially, and chemotherapy was not having any effect.

Despite that setback, the Hookes were determined to make as many memories as possible with their little girl.

“Every kind of experience, we’re trying to give her.”

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