January 12, 2015
Thousands have been showing their support for a 16-year-old cancer patient in Arizona in the form of puppy photos. The Facebook campaign called "Photo Doggies for Anthony" has gone viral, with more than 500,000 photos of dogs from across the world sending their well wishes.
Anthony Lyons checks into the Phoenix Children's Hospital for treatment once a month, USAToday reports. His mood improves when he is visited by the hospital's therapy dogs.
Since Lyons cannot see his own three dogs when he's undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoblastic leukemia, a family friend decided to put together the Facebook event page so he could look at pictures of dogs anytime.
Many have sent their well wishes and prayers for Anthony along with their dog photos.
"Preston from Long Island, New York, likes to put on his cozy sweater and play in the snow! He sends healing kisses and cuddles your way. Get well soon," wrote Facebook user Jessica Malone.
According to the USAToday story:
An Arizona State University social media expert attributes the page's success to a combination of concepts that tap into human emotion.
In this case, cute animals, a sick teenager and a desire to help, combine to create a viral sensation, said Retha Hill, executive director of the new media, innovation and entrepreneurship lab at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
"People will get involved if they think they can make a difference," she said. "We can't cure children's diseases overnight but we can make this boy smile and it has an immediate impact and outcome."
Lyons will finish high school as he continues monthly chemo treatments over the next three years. He was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in July, according to USAToday.