Move over, Marilyn Hagerty, there’s a new Internet’s Best Grandma: Grandma Betty, who started a life-affirming Instagram account after she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer early this year. Oh, who are we kidding, you’re both amazing.
Since January, the Jeffersonville, Indiana 80-year-old has been posting images and videos from her daily life to account GrandmaBetty33 with the help of her 18-year-old great-grandson Zach Belden. A week ago, her follower count topped 85,000. Today, she’s got more than 431,000, including Pharrell Williams, a number that surges higher by a few hundred with each page refresh.
Betty’s granddaughter and Zach’s mom, Hope Belden, recently told the Today Show that her son “wanted to give her something that would make her happy and fight until there was no fight left.” Belden says Betty asks every day how many new friends she has, and the family opened a P.O. box where fans can send letters and gifts.
The charm of the images is that they feel less about documenting the end of a life, and more about celebrating one in full swing. Betty dances to Kool and the Gang, holds up peace signs, hangs out with her dog, and smiles brightly from under the dryer at the hair salon. In one photo, she sticks out a bright blue tongue, with the caption “Guess who’s at the cancer doctor eating blue candy? Miley Cyrus has nothing on #GrandmaBetty.” The photo was so popular, watch company Facewatch designed a Grandma Betty logo consisting of a huge blue tongue and glasses.
So rock on, Grandma Betty. You’re proof that the Internet can be okay, and that everyone should take a moment to be grateful for what they have. We’re pulling for you.