Elliott Family Interview with Ben Fordham
On Friday 20 October, Ben Fordham welcomed 7 year old Libby and mum Jen into his studio to talk about Neurofibromatosis and the Children's Tumour Foundation. Libby has NF2, and her family are very passionate about raising much needed awareness and funds. You can listen to the interview, or read the transcript below.
Sydney Live with Ben Fordham
Ben: Thank you for tuning in Friday afternoon, you’re with Ben Fordham on 2GB. Now there’s a very special event on this Sunday night and I was invited to be involved with it this Sunday evening and sadly I had to say no because my beautiful wife Jodie is celebrating her birthday this Sunday night and I think we worked out that well the last two years in a row I have agreed to MC a charity event on her birthday and Jodie’s very understanding, no major complaints, but she just kinda dropped a hint last time around that it might be an idea for me to make sure that I am free to be at home and give myself holey to her and her birthday on her birthday, so I’ll be doing that this Sunday so I’m going to be missing a very important dinner for the Children’s Tumour Foundation and I wanted to say a big thank you to Neil Perry. The chef who is a household name in Australia, he has donated his time and his restaurant Rockpool, this Sunday night for a special dinner for the Children’s Tumour Foundation. And I’ve got with me in the studio a very brave girl and a brave family. This young lady’s name is Libby or Elizabeth, I’ll find out which one she prefers in just a moment, and we’re going to talk briefly about Neurofibromatosis or NF. It’s the umbrella name given to 3 different genetic conditions and NF causes tumours to grow on nerves throughout the body. It also can lead to blindness, to bone abnormalities, to cancer, to deafness, and a whole lot more. It is a lifetime condition and at the moment there’s no cure. The Children’s Tumour Foundation is the only foundation in Australia dedicated to supporting people with NF. And they create awareness, they raise money – because when they raise money that’s obviously going to help with research and the more research then the closer we come to finding a cure.
I’m very lucky to have Libby Elliott with me in the studio. Now Libby, good afternoon, how are you?
Ben: Do you prefer Libby or Elizabeth?
Libby: I don’t mind which one you call me
Ben: *Laughter* Well which one do you want?
Libby: Libby cause I’ve kinda forgot how to spell Elizabeth
Ben: But how do you spell Libby then?
Ben: Ohhh pretty good. Alright I’m going to challenge you. Try and spell Elizabeth
Libby: I do know half of it but I don’t, there’s one in the middle that I can’t remember
Ben: Oh don’t you hate that
Libby: It’s either L-I or I-L
Ben: Don’t you hate that when you know how to spell it but there’s always one letter in the middle
Ben: There’s two in the middle that confuse you!
Libby: L-I or I-L
Ben: L-I or I-L. You know what, I don’t really care that’s not why you’re here. How old are you, are you really 7?
Ben: You’re a good talker for someone who’s 7! You’re very good. What year are you in, you’d be in year 1 or year 2?
Libby: Year 1
Ben: Who’s your teacher?
Libby: Mrs Platt
Ben: If I called Mrs Platt and asked her whether you’re a good girl or a naughty girl, what would Mrs Platt say?
Ben: Neither?! What would she say?
Libby: I have no idea
Ben: Well you better be careful, you better be on your best behaviour because I might just ring Mrs Platt. Can you tell me about this wonderful group called the Children’s Tumour Foundation? How much do you know about them?
Libby: 10 per cent?
Libby: 10 per cent
Ben: Yeah well you tell me what you know, you tell me what you know. In fact, why don’t I bring you in on this Jenny, because Libby’s mum Jenny is with us in the studio. Jenny, good afternoon.
Jenny: Good afternoon Ben
Ben: She’s a little talker your daughter.
Jenny: Absolutely, she hasn’t stopped since she was about 9 months old
Ben: Tell me about this great organisation, the Children’s Tumour Foundation, because they are the organisation, the charity that’s being helped this Sunday night at Rockpool.
Jen: Okay well we first dealt with them about 2 years ago, when Elizabeth was first diagnosed with NF. And when our world was sort of going in a bit of a whirlwind, we were stuck in Darwin, we were having to fly to Sydney to meet with some specialist doctors. We had a lovely lady by the name of Sally from the Children’s Tumour Foundation ring us and offer us support, offer to be there when we first met our specialist, and just to, to generally help us get a grip on what we were beginning to deal with.
Ben: I’m guessing when you’re dealing with something like this, and this no doubt comes out of the blue for everyone who’s dealing with it, you don’t have all the information, you don’t have all the knowledge, you don’t have all of the contacts so when you’re in contact with an organisation like this one, that must take a lot of the pressure away.
Jen: Absolutely. She helped us get the doctors that we needed to see, helped us organise when we were seeing them and basically the timing so that we weren’t spending our whole week down in Sydney in the hospital, but we had a few days where we saw nearly everyone, and she was there for us every step of the way and she’s still there on email or phone if I need to get in contact with her.
Ben: How brave is your little girl who’s sitting with us here in the studio?
Jen: She’s absolutely amazing.
Ben: Because I’m guessing there is a lot of stuff that she’s got to go through that ordinary 7 year olds don’t have to deal with
Jen: Probably more than she realises
Ben: Libby are you brave? … Why are you staring at me like that?
Ben: Why are you staring at me like that? Like I’m some kind of weirdo
Ben: You think I’m a weirdo do you? I’ll tell your teacher! Are you tough, are you brave, are you scared, what are you – tell me how you feel.
Ben: Or are you cheeky?
Libby: Cheeky! **Giggles**
Ben: Oh mate you… I’m starting to have some sympathy for your Mum because she just looks like… The moment I ask you a question, I can tell her face is ticking over and she’s thinking “What’s the cheekiest answer I can say right now?” Have you got to put up with this all the time?
Jen: She makes life interesting that’s for sure
Ben: Do you realise how much trouble you are for your mum and your dad? Do you realise? No. Now your Dad has got an interesting thing coming up, I can’t believe this, your Dad is Cam – he’s planning to raise $40,000 for the Children’s Tumour Foundation, and Jenny I’m a little bit worried about how he’s doing it, it’s called Cupid’s Undie Run – what does that mean?
Jen: Well we first found out about Cupid’s Undie Run end of last year and we realised that it is one of the only fundraisers that the CTF does, the Children’s Tumour Foundation, and so we jumped on board. And we had to think of some imaginative ways to fundraise. Last year Cameron got waxed, on Live Facebook, with people throwing donations at him while he was getting his legs waxed. And this year he’s got a few other things install.
Ben: What’s he doing?
Jen: Ah well he’s planning on doing the waxing again, there’s the potential if he raises a certain amount of money he’s going to get a tattoo
Ben: Oh wow
Jen: And he’s also doing a fitness regime so for every $100 he earns, he’s doing extra situps, extra push ups, that sort of thing.
Ben: Libby, how do you feel about your Dad getting a wax and running around in his underpants?
Libby: It’s insane
Ben: Insane! Is that right? I think he’s insane as well. Well look we wanted to make sure that we give credit to an organisation that clearly does some amazing stuff, and we’ll have a link up on our website to the Children’s Tumour Foundation. So you can get behind an organisation that clearly helps people out when they need it the most. Well done to Neil Perry for opening up Rockpool restaurant this Sunday night for that fundraiser. What are you going to be when you grow up? What are you going to do Libby? Have you got a game plan? What do you want to be when you leave school?
Libby: An artist and a dancer
Ben: A what?
Libby: An artist and a dancer
Ben: An artist AND a dancer! You don’t want to be a radio host? No? **Laughs** She’s shaking her head. Hey listen thanks for coming in the studio and talking to me, did you have fun?
Ben: Good girl. Thank you so much as well Jenny for coming in I appreciate your time.
Jen: Thank you for having us.
Ben: So there you go. If you’ve never heard of the Children’s Tumour Foundation you have now and you can find out more information by going to our website.