Jackson County

Viral Lemon Face Challenge fights a rare cancer that's killed 3 Ocean Springs kids

When Alabama Coach Nick Saban puckered up to do the lemon challenge as a gift to a 11-year-old girl girl fighting a rare and an incurable cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, it went viral.

Now, the #LemonFaceChallenge has spread all over social media in support of 11-year-old Aubreigh Nichols' birthday wish to bring awareness to the deadly cancer she is currently battling.

The latest to take the challenge were a group of players with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who didn't stop there and challenged players with the Arizona Diamondbacks to do the same.

Nichols, of Semmes, Alabama, was diagnosed with a DIPG last year. In fact, she was in the same Alabama hospital when Ocean Springs area resident Sophia Ann Myers, 7, received treatment there in the week before her death from DIPG in October.

Sophia, the daughter of Josh Myers and Angel Myers McIlwrath, is among three Ocean Springs children to die of DIPG over the last eight years.

In Saban's video, he offered continued prayers for Aubreigh in the fight for her life.

"Our team is so proud to be a part of Aubreigh's Army as you continue your fight and also your efforts in helping raise awareness for DIPG," Saban said in the video. "I want you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers, and we are behind you 100 percent."

The lemon challenge has taken off in the coastal communities of Alabama and Mississippi as well as thousands of supporter line up to taken the challenge in support of DIPG Awareness.

Jackson County District Attorney Tony Lawrence initiated the challenge to local agencies and public officials, and the Sheriff Mike Ezell along with deputies and other staff accepted the challenge on the steps of the sheriff's department.

So has Youth Judge Sharon Sigalis and her staff at the Jackson County Youth Detention Center in Pascagoula.

Now, the Lemon Face Challenge is spreading on the Coast.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, a team of supporters of Sophia Myers and her parents are meeting at Fort Maurepas Park in Ocean Springs to pucker up for the challenge.

All are encouraged to attend to show their support for Aubreigh in her fight to bring attention to the disease that strips away a child's ability to walk, talk, speak and breathe.

Showing your support is easy — all it takes is a few lemon slices.

Margaret Baker 228-896-0538, margar45
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