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‘Insta-Granny’ viral Instagram account honours grandma battling cancer

Shereen Dindar
Shine On
March 18, 2014

Grandma Betty loves getting her hair done and watching "Law & Order," but her new hobby is keeping track of all her Instagram followers.

The 80-year-old Kentucky woman, who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer earlier this year, has become a viral sensation after her great grandson created an Instagram account in her honour, showcasing daily photos of her as she nears the end of life.

"It was intended to be a simple and easy way to serve as a digital memento that we, as a family, could keep forever," 18-year-old Zach Belden tells Yahoo Canada Shine.

So far, GrandmaBetty33 has amassed over 170,000 followers since her account was created in January.

"I think it's wonderful," says Grandma Betty of her newfound fame. "I knew I was loved but not by that many people. I wish I were able to meet them all."

While she admits she doesn't understand exactly how the social networking site works, she finds inspiration in the comments on her photos.

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"It makes me look and feel better. It helps me get my mind off the little pain that I do have," she explains.

Belden says she gets an immediate response the moment he posts a new photo of her.

"We never expected such a huge and touching response from so many people throughout the entire world," he says of her followers from countries such as New Zealand, Iran, Sweden and South Korea. "Everyday we hear about another cancer patient just like grandma who finds inspiration in every single one of our posts."

Grandma Betty is quite the dancer too. A number of posts feature short clips of her dancing to various hits like Kool & the Gang's "Celebration."

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Her stardom has even reached the likes of celebrity musician Pharrell Williams, who posted a photo of her on his Instagram account after she posted a video dancing to his song "Happy."

"The look on grandma's face when I told her Pharrell told his 2.3 million followers about her was priceless," says Belden.

As for Grandma Betty's one piece of advice to the rest of her followers, she shares the following words.

"Treat others as you would treat yourself."

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