Instagram Deletes Every Photo Mom Had of Her 4-Year-Old's Cancer Fight

hope for hazel

Mom Lauren Hammersley used Instagram to document her daughter Hazel's battle with neuroblastoma. When she began her fight with cancer, Hazel was only 2-years-old and her Instagram page attracted 7 million followers. It showed Hazel's strength as she was on her journey to fight her disease. It was a place of prayer and hope, struggles and triumphs, and Instagram deleted it.


Hazel battled her cancer for over a year -- her mom shared many photos of her journey. The first time she shaved all her hair off. Her last day of chemo. I'm so happy to report that Hazel is now 4-years-old and healthy. But her online photo diary of her experience is gone, too.

Mom Lauren wasn't given any notice that her Instagram was going to be deleted, but she tried to log on in April and couldn't. It was gone. And Instagram's fine print says that once an account is deleted, the photos and comments are gone forever. Lauren had hoped to share it all with Hazel someday -- all the photos, along with the beautiful prayers and words of encouragement from loved ones and strangers all over the world.

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Most of us have Instagram to document our lives. Our friends and family like our photos, share comments. I often put photos up on Instagram to document the adventures and exciting firsts my kids have. It has replaced the photo albums of yesterday. And if it was suddenly deleted, I would be upset. We can't trust that social media is going to keep our photos safe. We have to back it all up on our computers, discs, even take the time to make a photo album so we are sure we would have those photos forever. But for Lauren and Hazel, it's not just the photos, it's that outpouring of support she received ... all of it ... gone.

Though she's reached out to Instagram without any results, I hope Lauren is able to get through to them and hopefully they are able to re-instate her account. Doesn't everything live on the internet somewhere forever? Still, we cannot count of that. And maybe this will make us all realize we need to back all our photos up.

And most importantly to Hazel: You are an inspiration and may you continue to have nothing but healthy days ahead of you.

Thankfully her cancer is behind her -- a thing of the past. Perhaps the deletion of the account is the universe's way of saying not to look back.

What do you think happened to Hazel's Instagram? Do you back all your photos up?

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