But unlike so many earthquake stories, this one comes with some good news; Stuff reports:
Several construction companies halted their work in Christchurch's red zone yesterday to take part in a rare demolition sweepstake for a three-year-old girl battling cancer.
A crowd of demolition workers stood in the rain, all eyes on an adorned wrecking ball that had been painted black with the dregs of Hurricanes halfback Piri Weepu's facial and head hair glued to it.
About 20 construction companies took part in the sweep, each placing a $500 punt on how long it would take the hair to slide off the ball.
At seven minutes and 42 seconds, the makeshift wig was torn from the wrecking ball as it demolished Securities House on the corner of Gloucester St and Madras St.
After he broke his leg last year in the ITM Cup, Piri Weepu put away his razor. He decided to grow his beard until after he had played his first match back at the top level. The result, as he neared a return from injury a month or two ago was, shall we say, no oil painting.
Weepu duly had the shave and haircut, and the sweepings were kept, prompting yesterday's event - read on:
The sweepstake, run by the director of Shilton and Brown Demolitions, raised $10,000 for cancer patient Alessandra Millie Clements, whose chances of turning eight are 30 per cent.
Millie's parents have been unable to work since she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour seven months ago.
The Trade Me auction for Weepu's hair was viewed by over 60,000 people and led some to make donations to the Princess Millie's Treasure Chest account.
There are plenty of stories about sportsmen behaving badly. We applaud Piri Weepu though for his willingness to help a very sick young girl; and how could anyone NOT wish to help a child like young Millie?
Cancer is a bastard, but it's an even bigger bastard when it affects children. Friends of ours lost a daughter of Millie's age to a brain tumour a number of years ago, which is one of the reasons why this story resonated so much when we saw it on the telly last night and online this morning.
Millie has her own Facebook page; Princess Millie's Treasure Chest. Included on it is a bank account number for donations to help Millie and her family. If, like us you've been touched by this story, there's a way that you can make a tangible difference to Millie's struggle with an awful disease.