Whakatane toddler Chace Topperwien crammed a lifetime into three short years.
At a celebration of his life yesterday, his parents Ryan and Keri Topperwien thanked their courageous son for creating so many memories they could hold on to forever.
Last Friday, Chace succumbed to the leukemia he had been fighting for 15 months.
His farewell was filled with sunshine and laughter, the colour yellow and glow sticks _ all shared with hundreds of people who filled Whakatane's Liberty Centre to say goodbye to a special little boy who had touched their hearts.
Chace's coffin, featuring a pictorial of Ohope Beach, took centre stage and was surrounded by family and Chace's
favourite toys, including his push bike, a tractor and trailer, a lawnmower and the hammers he loved so much.
In a letter written to her son and read by friends, Keri Topperwien told a story of a handsome little boy who had
super powers capable of spreading laughter, fun, happiness and joy to many people.
"He could read minds, too, and always knew what mood mummy was in,'' Mrs Topperwien wrote.
"When mummy was sad he would place his hands on her cheeks and give her little nose kisses.
"The most impressive super power the little boy had is that he could make three years feel like a lifetime. The angels peaked through the clouds and asked who is that little boy? I think we can learn a lot from him, and decided to take him home.''
Also in a letter, Mr Topperwien told Chace all the things he loved about him.
"I love when you wake up in the morning, you open your eyes wide and sit straight up in bed ready for the day,'' Mr
"I love when you ride your bike around the skate park like you own the joint. I love when you look at mummy like she's the best mummy in the world.''
Mr Topperwien also spoke at the service, thanking people for their continued support.
"I thought today was going to be really hard but, once again, my boy has made it easy for us. It was supposed to be raining this morning but instead, I woke up to a beautiful blue sky and peace and calm and I knew that's how Chace was feeling too. Thank you my boy for making it so easy.''
The youngster's Nan, Joy Topperwien and `Arni' (aunty) Jenna Topperwien paid tribute by using a word from each letter of Chace's name to best describe him
"C is for courageous, in the past 15 months you have shown more courage than anyone we know. H is for happy, you always had a smile on your face. A is for acceptance, as you accepted everything you were dealt with.
"Another C, this time for consideration as your thoughts were always for others and E for enduring, you endured more than any 3-year-old should ever have to.''
Some of Chace's favourite songs were sung, others were played as three years' worth of photos were displayed on a big screen. As the lights dimmed and the photos were viewed, everyone in the audience waved glow sticks in time to the music.
After the service, hundreds of yellow balloons were handed out and people given the opportunity to write messages to Chace before they were released into the sky.
Moments before the coffin left the Liberty Centre, a haka was performed by friends and whanau of the Topperwien and Brown families.