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Ryan Reynolds Teamed Up With A Children's Hospital Thanks To This Brave Little Girl

"I was just so blown away by how brave and magical this little girl was."

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Star-studded galas may look like a good time on TV, but according to Ryan Reynolds, they're usually just "pants-shitting crazy."

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

But the Canada's Walk of Fame ceremony two years ago was different, because that's when he met Grace Bowen.

Grace was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of cancer, shortly before her ninth birthday. After undergoing treatment at Toronto's SickKids hospital, she died in March 2015.

SickKids

It's in her memory that Reynolds reached out to SickKids and asked what he could do to help. This week, on his own dime, he flew to Toronto to shoot a PSA.

He was joined by Canadian Olympic hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, who first introduced Reynolds to Grace at the Walk of Fame ceremony.
BuzzFeed Canada

He was joined by Canadian Olympic hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, who first introduced Reynolds to Grace at the Walk of Fame ceremony.

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"I was just so blown away by how brave and magical this little girl was," Reynolds told BuzzFeed Canada. "When I got home after the ceremony I said to my wife, I really felt like the reason I was there was to meet Grace."

Grace was a hockey player, which is how Wickenheiser met her. "She actually played for almost a year with a broken femur without knowing it. That in itself tells you what kind of kid she was," said Wickenheiser."She just had this infectious energy. She was a real fighter, she had a real determination. You see that in a lot of kids that have cancer. For me, there was just an instant connection with Grace."
BuzzFeed Canada

Grace was a hockey player, which is how Wickenheiser met her.

"She actually played for almost a year with a broken femur without knowing it. That in itself tells you what kind of kid she was," said Wickenheiser.

"She just had this infectious energy. She was a real fighter, she had a real determination. You see that in a lot of kids that have cancer. For me, there was just an instant connection with Grace."

The upcoming PSA stars Reynolds and 200 or so SickKids staff and volunteers.

SickKids

Grace's family — whom both Reynolds and Wickenheiser have kept in touch with — were also on hand for the shoot.

Remembering Grace Bowen with her family, Greg, Andrea and Mackenzie Bowen. As well as the legendary, @wick_22 -- Su… https://t.co/zHh57B4SH8

"Ryan's famous, Ryan's a movie star, but most of all he's a dad, he's a father," Grace's father, Greg Bowen, told BuzzFeed Canada.

"And when the cameras are off and he's at home with his feet up, he's got two little kids to love and I'm sure at some point he's put himself in our shoes."

Meeting Grace was a catalyst of sorts, Reynolds said. As he was shooting Deadpool, he went on to meet other kids with cancer, such as Edmonton's Connor McGrath.

Connor McGrath woulda been 14 tomorrow. Thnx to @MakeAWish for placing me in his life. He made mine better. Love to… https://t.co/QPssYOBIiN

"Each of their journeys are so distinctly different but they all share this one common thread which is that they're usually the bravest ones in the room," said Reynolds.

You can hear more about Grace in the video below and visit the Sick Kids Foundation website to learn how to help.

View this video on YouTube

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Lauren Strapagiel is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada.

Contact Lauren Strapagiel at lauren.strapagiel@buzzfeed.com.

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