Hollywood actor aids boy's cancer battle

Published on February 15, 2016
Actor Ryan Reynolds and Newfoundlander Connor McGrath pose together after Reynolds travelled to Alberta to do a private screening of “Deadpool” for the 13-year-old, whose family is fundraising for him to get an experimental cancer treatment in the United States.

A Hollywood actor has pitched in to help a family originally from the Placentia area that's trying to raise the funds needed for an expensive cancer treatment.

Ryan Reynolds, star of the current number one movie in North America “Deadpool,” revealed on Facebook Friday night that he visited Connor McGrath at an Edmonton hospital six weeks ago. Connor's mother Kim (Searle) is from Southeast Placentia and dad Gerald is from St. Bride's.

The 13-year-old boy was diagnosed with leukemia almost three years ago. His disease went into remission, but Connor experienced a relapse last year. A special form of therapy for children not responding to traditional treatments is now being recommended, but it costs $800,000, and government has denied coverage as the procedure — chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy — is considered experimental.

During Reynolds' hospital visit with Connor, the actor from Vancouver screened the superhero movie based on the Marvel Comics character. Reynolds' character in the film, Wade Wilson, also has a history with cancer. That made the Connor one of the first people to see the completed film, which grossed $260-million worldwide on its opening weekend.

Reynolds posted a photo of the two together on his Facebook account with a short message. It's been shared over 11,000 times as of Monday morning.

“He's quite possibly the biggest #Deadpool fan on earth,” wrote Reynolds. “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.

“About 6 weeks ago, I traveled to Edmonton Alberta to show Connor the movie at his hospital. Of course, the Deadpool was right up his alley because Connor's the funniest, potty-mouthed Canadian mercenary I've ever met.

“He's my friend. I know lots of celebrities jump up and down touting a cause — and maybe I'm no different. But holy frozen shit-slivers, I love this kid. He's the GREATEST.”


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Reynolds encouraged fans to donate to the family's online fundraising campaign, adding he's already done so himself. In a message posted Monday, Connor's mom Kim reported overall fundraising efforts have surpassed $108,000. The day before, she said Connor did not respond well to the last round of chemotherapy and will start immuno therapy treatment this week.

“Connor, being the brave kid he is, told his doctor he's not willing to give up — he wants to continue to fight,” Kim wrote. “As always, hope is remission, and if remission is not possible, hope is that this coming treatment will reduce ... his disease enough until we can get to CAR t-cell. Thanks for the continued support!”