The internet’s coolest great-grandma rocks Instagram to help her fight cancer

by Felix Esser

posted Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 1:55 PM EDT

Terminal cancer is a terrible diagnosis for anyone, no matter their age. And while a chemotherapy can help slow down the spread of the malignant tumor cells, the crucial part of the diagnosis is the word terminal, which means that ultimately the person cannot be cured – at least not at the current state of medical science. But not everyone will respond well to a chemotherapy, and for some, especially the elderly, it might only make things worse.

When Zach Belden learned about his 80 year-old great-grandma Betty's condition, he wanted to give her something that would help boost her spirit, despite the hardship that she was going through. And with a diagnosis like hers, trying to keep a high spirit is really the only thing you can do. Being a kid of the internet age, Zach came up with the idea of creating an Instagram account for her, where they'd regularly share pictures and video clips showing scenes out of Betty's daily life.

"He wanted to give her something that would make her happy and fight until there was no fight left," said Hope Belden, Zach's mom and Betty's granddaughter, in an interview with And apparently it has worked: "It gives her something to look forward to every day. She still asks every morning, 'How many more friends do I have today?'" But not only Betty herself has something to look forward to each morning, it's her whole family that draws strenght out of the project.

What began with "Selfie Sunday" pictures once a week has become a true Instagram phenomenon, and has found fans all over the world. By now, Betty's Instagram account has almost 290,000 followers, and her images reach tens of thousands of fans. And each time Betty (or rather, her great-grandson) posts a new picture or video, she receives an outpour of affection, good wishes, and prayers from her followers. And it's not hard to see why – after all, she demonstrates each day that despite her condition, she stays positive and tries to enjoy life as much as possible.

Below, we share with you some of the pictures and videos from Betty's Instragram stream. And if the video of Betty dancing to Pharrell Williams' "Happy" cheers you up as much as it did us, why not head over to her Instagram account, follow her, and give her some love.

(via SLR Lounge)