Little Luna is trying to save her dad, who is suffering from brain cancer, by attempting to raise $100,000 for his treatment.
A mother and one of her four children, a darling 7-year-old girl, are doing the unthinkable to save their tattoo artist husband-father from a life-threatening brain tumor. The mom wants to fly her husband, Diego Wernicke, to Syndey for an important surgery with popular Australian neurosurgeon Charlie Teo. Their daughter Luna wants to auction hand-painted tea towels for up to $130 each, in a daring effort to help raise money for the entire trip, which could cost around $100,000. Thus far, thanks to the little girl's efforts, as well as some generous donations from others, they have raised half that amount.
Wernicke first had a seizure in March of last year, right in front of his two eldest daughters Luna and Mili outside their Gold Coast home. The young girls immediately alerted the neighbors who rushed the then-47-year-old to a hospital where he was diagnosed with stage three brain cancer. This was no easy tumor to operate on, and local doctors declined to touch it because it was in a high-risk part of the brain. Wernicke's wife Hayley Allen, 32, told Daily Mail Australia that the Dr. Teo, a renowned brain surgeon, became their only hope.
"Charlie Teo believes he can get 99 percent of the tumor out," Allen said. "They can never give you a definitive answer, but the operation would potentially add years and years on to his life, compared to the 12 months or so he has now." Without this all-important surgery, the short prognosis ensured that their five-month-old son Folk, conceived before the growth was discovered, will have no memories of his father. Unfortunately for the family, Dr. Teo must be invited to Queensland by a public hospital in order to do the surgery, and that is something that has not happened in 35 years. The family kept trying their best to get doctors to sign letters and recommendations to fly the famous surgeon over the border, but the couple had no luck. They had then resorted to fundraising to fly the father-of-four to Sydney instead.
"All the public hospitals say there's nothing they can do, so we need to get him to Sydney so I can tell my kids I tried everything to keep their dad alive," Allen said. Meanwhile, their eldest daughter Luna was the most affected by her father's deterioration. "She has broken down, crying 'I don't want Daddy to die' and we've got her seeing a therapist just so she has someone else to chat to". At such a young age, she has decided to take matters into her own hands. Quite literally. Luna has since been auctioning hand painted tea towels on Instagram and has contributed $600 so far, with the highest bidders handing over $130 for a single towel.
According to Allen, Dr. Teo has informed the family he could operate within a day's notice if the family secured the funds. Until then, they are trying to stretch every cent to ensure Wernicke receives the treatments he needs while paying the rent and putting food on the table. "It has been hard because Diego hasn't been able to work since he got sick, and he can't drive so I have to take the kids to school and take him to appointments," Allen said. "At the beginning of this year we had no money and dropped the amount of cannabis oil we were giving him, then he had more growth, all the while I was about to have our little boy," she added. "When I stop, my brain starts ticking over and it becomes very overwhelming, so I'm very active and try to stay focused on what I'm doing."