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The playground that love built

By Kristen Henry, Image Credit – Kayleigh McGlynn

Dear Canberra,

Thank you doesn’t seem like enough, but that’s where I’ll start. Thank you.

Annabelle and I played in her Princess Playground over the weekend. A playground that was built with love by complete strangers in less than five days.

If you haven’t heard about little Annabelle Potts, she has a tumour in her brain that Charlie Teo said was inoperable. The Canberra community wanted to do something special for her and her family and knew time was of the essence.

Together, we build her a Princess Playground and renovated her house in less than five days, fuelled on donations and volunteers.

It’s a Princess Playground built to house treasured memories, for a family who has limited time with their precious three-year-old daughter.


That tumour in her brain, although fierce and inoperable, will never be the size of the smile that saturated that little girls face.

She was tired and a little overwhelmed by the commotion, but felt the freshness of her new lawn on her tiny toes and built up her courage to slide down her giant pink Princess castle slide on her bottom with a look of bewilderment. A look of pure joy.


This wasn’t just a Princess Playground for a little girl whose time with us is precious and limited. This playground was a signal to her parents that they are not alone.

Kathie and Adam were teary as they watched their children play but humbled by the generosity of the community that they’ve chosen to raise their children in. It was tough but beautiful.


It was a pink castle at the end of a long week of radiation.


It was a gesture to remind that family that Canberra is with them. That we wrap our arms around you and when you are down we pick you up.


To the tradies, neighbours, friends and people from all over Canberra who have pitched in to make Annabelle’s home and backyard an extra special place to be. To the dozens of people who have donated time, materials, skills, food, presents and so much more to this project.

You gave love.


You gave this family the gift of quality time. You reminded us all why we call Canberra home. Because awesome people like you live here.

Enjoy Annabelle, you gorgeous princess you.

Big Love, Kristen.

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