Make a lemon face for little Annabelle
CANCER has paralysed her face and stolen her smile but Annabelle Potts can still issue a heartbreaking video dare for everyone to join the “Lemon Face Challenge” and help all those “little kids who have lumps inside their heads”.
Like the Ice Bucket Challenge that has raised millions for motor neurone disease, Annabelle and her family hope the Lemon Face Challenge can take off and shine a spotlight on childhood brain cancer.
Annabelle’s favourite band, The Wiggles, were the first to take up the challenge for The Sunday Telegraph and called on others to join them in sucking on a lemon and posting the video online for charity.
Red Wiggle Simon Pryce said he was proud to be part of the campaign and hoped it went viral.
“It’s about bringing awareness to this terrible thing that can happen to children and to raise some funds for trials here in Australia so families don’t have to go overseas,” he said.
The cancer, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), only affects children, is 100 per cent fatal and has an average survival time of about nine months.
Few research dollars have been invested, which is why there has been no change since Neil Armstrong lost his daughter Karen to DIPG in 1962, featured in the recent film First Man.
Annabelle was diagnosed with DIPG two years ago and The Sunday Telegraph has followed her parents’ desperate journey to find a cure.
Doctors told Kathie and Adam Potts to go home and make a few last memories with Annabelle because there is no treatment in Australia.
But the Canberra family flew to Mexico to trial experimental chemotherapy at a secretive clinic.
After 10 rounds at $30,000 a pop, Annabelle’s tumour had shrunk but the joy was short-lived. The tumour came back. “I definitely thought Mexico bought her time but it was too risky for us to go back over there since she has had a decline,” Mrs Potts said.
“Plus I’m upset with them (the Mexican doctors) because they should be sharing what they are doing with the world and I’m upset we can’t do more experimental treatments for terminally ill children here in Australia.”
The Lemon Face Challenge was invented by Aubreigh Nicholas, a 10year-old from America who was diagnosed with DIPG in September 2017. Aubreigh died on August 15.
“It is so important because it helps raise awareness for DIPG and awareness equals funding, which equals treatment. And it makes Annabelle laugh,” Mrs Potts said.
Annabelle recently underwent more radiation at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead to buy more time and rallied to issue the challenge.
“We need to keep her fighting and we need Australia to catch up, we need more money for more trials,” Mrs Potts said. “Please participate.”
To take part, film yourself sucking on a lemon, post it online and tag it: #lemonfacechallenge # LOVEFORANNABELLE # DIPGAWARENESS DONATIONS: HTTPS:// DONORBOX. ORG/ THEISABELLA- AND- MARCUS- FOUNDATION
The Wiggles were delighted to take the Lemon Face Challenge to raise awareness and money for childhood brain cancer. Picture: Sam Ruttyn Below: Annabelle Potts before she lost her beautiful smile.
Wests Tiger Chris Lawrence tries the lemon face challenge to draw attention to childhood brain cancer..