In the Marvel superhero movie Ryan plays Wade Wilson, an outspoken mercenary who undergoes an experimental treatment after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. This leaves him heavily scarred but with incredible powers of regeneration, which turn him into superhero Deadpool.

The actor says his character's backstory has given him a special connection with child cancer sufferers.

"To be totally honest, one thing I thought was really fantastic is a lot of kids have been reaching out because they look up to Deadpool, a lot of kids with cancer and that sort of thing and I've gotten to know a lot of these kids based on Deadpool," the 39-year-old tells

"They love this character Wade Wilson because he's basically given his diagnosis and flips like a bird, and that's something a lot of these guys and girls really relate to," he adds. "I got to spend a lot of time with these kids and do a lot of things with Make-A-Wish Foundation."

Despite wanting to make his hospital visits in character, Ryan has had to leave the Deadpool costume behind as the weapons the character carries would fall foul of security restrictions in U.S. hospitals.

"I always want to wear the suit when I go into the hospital, but the problem is that the suit is mostly weapons," he says. "Captain America has a shiny shield, Thor has a semi-non threatening hammer, but I have like katanas and semi-automatic pistols, which is not something you go through the metal detector of a hospital in."

One other reason Ryan would not be able to give children the full Deadpool experience is the character's love of profanity, one of the reasons the movie was R-rated in the U.S.

Despite younger fans not being able to see Deadpool in the cinema the film was a blockbuster hit, with worldwide box office sales of $756 million (£530 million) making it the highest grossing movie with R-rated of all time.