Canadian rugby players rally around Abbotsford girl fighting leukemia

At an event in New Zealand this weekend, Team Canada players will all wear orange laces this weekend to support four-year-old Paisley MacRury, who was diagnosed with leukemia just before Christmas.

Team will play at least five games at HSBC New Zealand Sevens 2019 in Hamilton, New Zealand

Graeme MacRury, left, holds his daughter, Paisley. The four-year-old is fighting leukemia. (CBC)

Canada's rugby sevens team will be adding a new colour to their red and white kits this weekend to show support for a girl fighting cancer in Abbotsford, B.C.

At an event in New Zealand this weekend, the players will all wear orange laces to support four-year-old Paisley MacRury, who was diagnosed with leukemia just before Christmas.

Her father is Graeme MacRury, who played with the Abbotsford rugby club for 11 years and knows many of the players on Team Canada.

"We're a giant brotherhood of people so for them to get behind me I still can't figure what the word is. It's very humbling," Graeme said.

McRury always hoped his daughter would look up to the rugby community, but this show of support from the national team was something he never expected.

Extra motivation

Paisley's cheeks are still swollen from the medication she's been on for the past few weeks, but she is finally back home after spending the holidays at B.C. Children's Hospital.

"She's been through 'hell month' which is an induction and it's when they introduce all the drugs that [she'll] be on," her dad said. "Everyone in the hospital warned us about how horrible it would be."

Graeme's former teammate, Jake Thiel, is the one who came up with the idea to support the MacRury family with the orange shoelaces — orange being the colour of leukemia awareness.

Graeme MacRury had women rugby players, including members of Canada's national team, sign this rugby kit for Paisley. He said he wanted Paisley to look up to them. (CBC)

"If Paisley, sees us wearing those laces or even if Graeme sees us wearing the laces, he knows that Rugby Canada and the whole community's behind him," Thiel said.

The team is set to play at least five games during the HSBC New Zealand Sevens 2019 in Hamilton, New Zealand.

Thiel says because of Paisley they'll be playing with some extra motivation.

Graeme plans to watch the tournament this weekend, hopefully with another rugby fan by his side.

"She's come and watched me play all the time," he said. "She loves it, loves watching it even with me not playing it."

With files from Eva Uguen-Csenge