‘Unlikely Instagram star’ succumbs to cancer
MANILA, Philippines—Instagram sensation Betty Jo Simpson, or Grandma Betty to her followers, succumbed to lung cancer on Saturday.
The 80-year-old’s death was announced on her Instagram account, with a photo of her dog Harley sitting on Grandma Betty’s rocking chair, and the message “Although Grandma Betty is no longer physically with us, she will forever be in the hearts of the millions of people she touches every single day. Grandma Betty did not lose her battle to cancer, because her legacy she has left behind will inspire millions of people to #Smile, #BeHappy, and #StayHappy no matter what. The fight has ended. The battle is won.”
The Indiana native’s 18-year-old great grandson Zach Belden came up with the idea of creating an Instagram account for his great grandmother when she was diagnosed with cancer early 2014.
“When my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, my family and I were coming up with a way to kind of document grandma Betty’s last days, and one of the things that popped up was Instagram,” Beldon said in a YouTube video posted April.
“Overall, I think it has changed her personality for the better, I think. She’s more outgoing. She’s more active than she usually is,” Beldon said in the video.
Beldon updated the account daily, posting photos of Grandma Betty’s adventures, seen by her close to 700,000 followers and the rest of the World Wide Web.
As her condition worsened, Grandma Betty’s family updated her growing fan base on her condition until her death, which saddened her fans who were inspired by her story.
“Whatever you do please never shut down her Instagram. I have looked at it every day for as long as it has been up and everyday it has made me smile. She was an inspiration to me,” Devyn Purvis said on her Instagram account.
Here are some of Grand Betty’s most memorable posts:
Photos screengrabbed from Grandma Betty’s Instagram account.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.