The Harden family of a brave girl battling a rare brain cancer has celebrated her fourth birthday at the weekend, not knowing if it will be last time they will see her.
Annabelle Potts and her family flew out of the country on Tuesday so the young girl could receive potentially life-saving treatment.
Annabelle was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) in December last year and parents Adam and Kathie Potts have been tireless in their pursuit to save their daughter.
The family were told of a medical trial for intra-arterial chemotherapy treatment combined with immunotherapy that was being offered by a hospital in Mexico.
Annabelle’s Harden aunty Annalise Potts has struggled to comprehend the news.
“We are very close, she is a beautiful little girl and she is not going to get better,” she said.
“It makes me incredibly sad that I get to do things that she will never do - things people my age take for granted.”
The 17-year-old said she has changed her career plan to look at studying medical science.
“If I can help research DIPG and help find a cure, no other family will have to go through what we are going through now,” she said.
Annabelle’s grandmother Jody Webster said watching the Potts family on national TV on Channel Ten’s The Project on Monday night was a moment of realisation.
“The silence in our house was deafening,” Jody said.
“None of us could speak. Kathie and Adam's message was so powerful.
“It is difficult to describe the waves of helplessness that washed over us.”
The Websters travelled to Canberra on Saturday to celebrate Annabelle’s fourth birthday.
“Although it was such a happy occasion the thoughts of 'Is this the last time we will see her?’ kept invading my thoughts,” Jody said.
The grandmother thanked the Make a Wish foundation for giving Annabelle a trip to Disneyland.
Jody’s husband, Dale, said it was difficult to see the family struggling.
The pair were married just days before Annabelle’s diagnosis.
“I only just became 'Pop' to Annabelle, and now I am losing her. It's heartbreaking,” Dale said.
“Our friends and work colleagues have really rallied around us and we are extremely grateful to them. It is their support that allows us to function on a daily basis.”
Annalise will be cutting 35cm off her hair next month to raise money for DIPG awareness.
The hair will be donated to make wigs for patients going through cancer treatment. The family has also set up a GoFundMe page for anyone who can donate to help fund Annabelle’s expensive treatment.