More than 10,000 people packed out the final Pack the Park fundraiser game at Rugby Park in Invercargill at the weekend.
The sun shone through after morning showers threatened to steal spectators away from the special game on Saturday.
Southern Charity Hospital founder Melissa Vining was elated with how the day turned out and for the support from the Southland community.
"It meant the world to me to celebrate our community in such a special way. The sun was shining, and to have 10 and a-half thousand Southlanders turn up was amazing" she said.
Media personality Paddy Gower captained the AB Lime Blair Vining XV with little rugby experience under his belt but was ready "to get pummelled" for it.
"Cancer is all about taking people you love away from you and this game is about fighting cancer and giving back to communities," he said.
"I’ve seen the magic of Southland people and with Missy Vining putting together a hospital. It’s a Southland miracle."
ITM invitational captain Matt Watson was more familiar with wrangling marlins than rugby players but he was stoked to put his "bag of bones" on the line for a good cause.
"Any New Zealander given the chance will put themselves in front of these hulking men to run over the top of them, rather than having a family member go through cancer.
"What Paddy and I are doing, it’s really a privilege" he said.
The Pack the Park idea began as a bucket-list event for the late Blair Vining — who campaigned for more equitable cancer treatment in the South after he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bowel cancer in 2018.
The Blair Vining Bucket List Rugby Game in 2019, in which Mr Vining played, drew a crowd of 4000.
The 2020 Park the Park event attracted more than 7000 people and celebrated the first $1 million raised to establish the Southern Charity Hospital.
Mrs Vining said she believed her husband would have been proud of how the community showed up at Rugby Park this weekend and proud that his friends and former All Blacks travelled from all around New Zealand to play the game.
She said her hopes were that people who were at present missing out on colonoscopy care could get access to care and that the clinical team at the hospital would get the support she had received in having the hospital built.
The Southern Charity Hospital is scheduled to open in March.