A great-grandmother is fighting cancer with the help of over 160,000 Instagram followers, or as she likes to refer to them, "friends."
Eighteen-year-old Zach Belden started an Instagram account for his 80-year-old great-grandma, Betty Simpson, after she was diagnosed with cancer. He figured the popular social network would be a good way to keep family members updated on her progress.
Little did he know that close friends and family would not be the only ones interested in keeping tabs on "grandmabetty33," who gained popularity on the Internet thanks to her selfies and videos. In them, she is not afraid to throw up a peace sign, stick out her tongue or simply express her gratitude for the support they offer online.
"I just can’t believe it," Simpson said in one video about her follower count. She had 23,000 at the time. "I thank a lot of them. I love them."
In another post, Grandma Betty dances to Pharrell Williams' inescapable song "Happy." Williams saw the video and followed Simpson. He also gave the grandmother a shout-out on Instagram. She instantly gained a few more "friends." Just five days ago, she had 13,000 followers. Her current count is 165,000 and still quickly climbing.
"He loves me so much, that's why he did it," Simpson told ABC News about her great-grandson starting the Instagram account. "He doesn’t want to lose me and he’s just good to me."
Belden is not the only one. Simpson says that she has received well-wishes from across the country. Many hope Grandma Betty can beat a disease that almost took her life twice six months ago.