Forget all about Instagram fitness sensation Jen Selter and her now famous derriere, Trotter the Bulldog and his impossibly cute outfits and wigs, and dapper 5-year-old Alonso Mateo, who looks dapper wearing brands like Dior and Tom Ford in his much-lauded selfies. The latest Instagram celebrity is an 80-year-old great grandmother from Louisville, Kentucky: Grandma Betty. Her story will move you.
SEE: Grandma Betty is battling cancer on Instagram
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The Instagram account, grandmabetty33, was started in January by teenager Zach Belden as a means through which to celebrate his great grandmother, who is dying of cancer. Using the photo- and video-sharing application, he hoped to share special moments with friends and family members, thereby creating an online memorial. But Grandma Betty's lovable persona managed to captivate thousands of virtual strangers and, now, the account has amassed as many as 20,485 followers.
Some of the photos posted include Grandma Betty sitting under a hairdryer, her hair in rolos, or flashing a peace sign while making the most adorable duck face. But the best posts are the short videos: Grandma Betty dancing to Pharrell Williams' "Happy;" her looking into the camera and saying, "Who wants to give me a shout-out?" or telling her great grandson that the nurses think she's cute and, after he notes that most people do, asking, "Do they?" with a beaming smile. In almost every video, Grandma Betty tells her fans she loves them--and it's abundantly clear that she means every word.
The abuelita has charmed so many people that she's become a celebrity in her own right--she was even interviewed for a news piece that aired on her local TV station on Wednesday. In the news piece, Grandma Betty admits to getting excited when her great grandson shows her an increase in followers. "I ask him every day, how many more?" she says.
Though Grandma Betty herself doesn't remind me of my abuela, what this teen has done for his own grandma out of love reminds me of how much I loved her. She was my everything before her passing. Although my grandma would never in life have let me post photos of her anywhere--especially without makeup and the whole nine because she was always very presumida, even when she got very sick in the end.
Anyone with an amazing abuelita will feel touched by the sweet intentions behind the account's creation, Grandma Betty's kind heart, and her appreciation for the simple joy of being alive. Cue Pharrell's "Happy"!
Image via grandmabetty33/Instagram