It’s easy to say social media activism doesn’t achieve anything, but the Ice Bucket Challenge that took over the web in 2014 bought in millions of dollars for ALS. While 2015’s #HoldACokeWithYourBoobsChallenge and 2016’s #ItsOkayToTalk raised awareness of breast cancer and male suicide respectively.
Now, a new challenge has arisen on the internet, and again it’s for a good cause. Dubbed the Lemon Face Challenge, partakers are shoving a quarter of a lemon in their mouth with the aim of helping a sick little girl to smile again.
Two years ago Annabelle Potts was diagnosed with brain cancer. The five-year-old, from Canberra, Australia, is suffering from diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), which has paralysed her cheeks and made it impossible for her to smile. The deadly disease only affects children and is often terminal.
In 2016, Annabelle’s parents Kathie and Adam Potts were told their daughter had only nine months left to live. The family travelled to Mexico, where Annabelle took part in an experimental therapy.
After enduring ten rounds of chemotherapy, costing a whopping £23,000 each, the tumor shrank and was no longer detectable. Unfortunately, the cancer was found to have returned in March this year, and her parents are desperately searching for another solution.
Posting on the Love for Annabelle Facebook page in October, a relative revealed the little girl’s health had drastically declined, with Annabelle now needing a shunt to drain fluid from her brain.
They wrote: “After Annabelle’s shunt insertion last Tuesday, she was not in a good place. Annabelle was unable to breathe on her own and could barely communicate.
“Kathie and Adam had to have some very difficult discussions about their beautiful girl.”
And while Annabelle’s condition doesn’t appear to have improved, people around the world have been working to cheer the youngster up via the #LemonFaceChallenge.The challenge was originally created by Aubreigh Nicholas, a 10-year-old from the US who was diagnosed with the same type of cancer in 2017.
After stumbling across the challenge online, Annabelle found it so hilarious she asked people across the globe to get involved and send her the results. Now even celebs have been taking part for Annabelle’s amusement, including Australian children’s entertainers The Wiggles and the West Tigers rugby team.
In a post explaining to others how they can join the fun, Kathie said: “All you have to do is record yourself eating a lemon wedge, explain why you are doing it, share your video on social media and nominate some friends to do it. Don’t forget to make it a public post so we can show Annabelle.”
Kind-hearted people can also donate to help fund Annabelle’s medical treatment, as well as towards research to find a cure.