Little Telethon Stars Lucy Antipas and Oliver Lim turn their talents to help raise money for other sick kids







Life hasn’t always been easy for Lucy Antipas and Oliver Lim.

From a very young age, these two Perth kids have faced difficulties that most of us can’t possibly imagine.

Yet despite it all, they keep smiling, inspiring those around them with their resilience, bravery and high spirits.

Now, as this year’s Little Telethon Stars, they’re turning their talents to helping raise millions of dollars for other sick children.

In many ways Lucy is just like most other eight-year-olds. The cheeky little girl loves reading Roald Dahl, playing board games, and riding around the house on her tricycle.

“She just loves that thing,” mum Emma said. “She wants to get on the bike all the time.”

Ollie and Lucy are the reason Telethon exists. They are our reminder to the community why every dollar we raise is so important.

Fat Cat poses with 2021 Telethon Kids Lucy Antipas and Oliver Lim.
Camera IconFat Cat poses with 2021 Telethon Kids Lucy Antipas and Oliver Lim. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

The primary school student is bubbly, chatty and quick to laugh. She’s excited to be a Telethon kid, which she sees as her “best chance” to get her own YouTube channel.

But Lucy’s life has been far from easy. At just 18 months old, she was diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy. The disorder — a neurological condition causing severe stiffness and weakness in the limbs — impacts fewer than three out of every 1000 children.

People with the condition often need to realign their bones, which can easily dislocate. Lucy had her second hip operation last year.

“The first operation, she was just two years old — such a tiny little thing,” Emma said.

“She bounced back pretty quickly from that one. But the last operation was really hard.”

Before her operation in September last year, Lucy was able to walk in a foldable walker. But the pain of recovery “hit the reset button”, Emma said.

Confidence shattered, Lucy was confined to her wheelchair, unable to even crawl.

Lucy Antipas, one of 2021's Little Telethon Stars.
Camera IconLucy Antipas, one of 2021’s Little Telethon Stars. Credit: Supplied

Yet she would not be deterred — she was determined to learn to walk again, despite the pain.

Her parents enrolled her at Healthy Strides, an intensive, research-led physiotherapy program partly funded by Telethon.

It’s given her the confidence she so desperately needed, Emma said.

“Telethon is amazing. It gives an opportunity for kids to reach their full potential,” she enthused.

“But most importantly it gives the kids hope. It gives them light at the end of the tunnel.”

Lucy won’t be taking on Little Telethon Star duties alone as she’ll have 14-year-old Oliver by her side.

2021 Telethon Kids Oliver Lim and Lucy Antipas.
Camera Icon2021 Telethon Kids Oliver Lim and Lucy Antipas. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

The East Fremantle teenager has a few things in common with his younger counterpart. Both like video games, and talking on the phone to their friends. Both are “bubbly”, according to their parents, and both have faced adversity from a young age.

“Oliver kept getting temperatures as a baby. We thought he just had a normal cold, but it kept coming back,” his father George said.

“The doctor prescribed antibiotics, but they didn’t work.”

Just a few months shy of his second birthday, Oliver was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

SLE — which can damage the skin, hair, blood and brain — causes the immune system to attack its own tissues.

To stop his body from shutting down, Oliver has had to undergo multiple rounds of chemotherapy, and more than 50 IV methylprednisolone infusions.

“Luckily he has a very high pain threshold, but it’s been difficult for him,” George said.

“He’s got a large Tupperware container of drugs that he has to take every day.”

Telethon is amazing. It gives an opportunity for kids to reach their full potential.

Despite all of the treatment, Oliver is “easygoing” and “positive”, his dad said — with an absolutely terrific sense of humour.

“He’s excited to be a Telethon Star. We’ve watched it for years and we’ve always felt very connected to it, having a sick child,” George said. “The two of them will do a great job.”

Telethon 2021 — the 54th edition of the fundraising spectacular —will return on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, October 16-17, hosted at Crown Perth and Optus Stadium.

It will be broadcast live for 26 hours, marking a return to the pre-COVID Telethon tradition, with highlights including the epic opening and closing shows and a brand new live music show featuring WA music talent.

Last year, the event raised a record-breaking $46 million for sick kids and this year organisers are hoping to break the record yet again.

Telethon chairman Richard Goyder applauded the two new Little Telethon Stars.

“Oliver and Lucy are incredible examples of the Telethon spirit,” he said. “They both have seen more than their fair share of challenges over their lives, but their positive attitude, humour and resilience shines through in abundance.”

Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas echoed Mr Goyder’s sentiment — and urged West Aussies to contribute.

“Ollie and Lucy are the reason Telethon exists,” he said. “They are our reminder to the community why every dollar we raise is so important.”


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