Mom of TikTok’s ‘Bella Brave’ speaks out after online bullies attack one of her videos

Mom and daughter recreate TikTok trend

Those who frequent parenting TikTok have probably heard of the account Bella Brave, an account run by mom Kyla Thompson that features her daughter Bella, a 10-year-old with Hirschprung’s disease and severe combined immunodeficiency (SCI). The account has more than 7 million followers, and Thompson is hoping to bring advocacy for children’s health and awareness about Hirschprung’s and SCI.

Unfortunately, because her account is so popular—and it’s the internet—trolls took to the comments (and made reaction videos) about a post of Thompson and Bella recreating a viral trend. Thompson, who rarely interacts with bullies online, decided to fight back this time, following one person’s reaction video to her post, acting “startled” by Bella’s appearance in the frame.

Thompson told PEOPLE in an interview that she usually isn’t in a rush to engage with mean-spirited activity online, but this instance “just seemed to be larger than any other issues we’ve dealt with before.”

“I never really want to respond because I don’t want to give them the credit they’re looking for,” she said regarding online bullies. “They’re just hiding behind a keyboard in the comments section thinking they’re going to get somewhere, when really they’re just voluntarily making themselves look really bad.”

“We haven’t had this happen very often, but when something goes viral, it’s in your face. In the past, I’ve turned comments off, but this time I decided not to.” Thompson was hoping to “broaden some narrow-minded thinking” to a few of the “nasty things” people replied, according to PEOPLE.

As part of Bella’s condition, Bella has dwarfism, which causes her to weigh less than 30 pounds. And according to PEOPLE, the 10-year-old has spent more than 1,000 days of her life in the hospital, undergoing dozens of surgeries and surviving multiple septic shock infections. Last year, Bella received a life-saving bowel transplant, per the publication.

“I’m always wanting to advocate for pediatric organ donations, medical families and supporting those families…I’m hoping to ignite a change online instead of just shutting down, logging off, deleting comments and leaving the space,” Thompson told PEOPLE.

Thankfully, Bella is still confident and typically advises her mom to ignore the haters. And Thompson told PEOPLE she’s grateful her daughter “knows intuitively to block it out.”

“I know this online world,” Thompson told the publication. “This digital world is not changing. I always tell Bella, ‘Everyone’s going to deal with people like this. You got to learn how to deal with them, because the overall picture is we want to advocate for medical families.”

“We don’t want to just give those trolls a win and just log out…we’re going to stand up for the kiddos that need a voice,” Thompson said.