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GrandmaBetty33, whose real name is Betty Simpson, is an 80-year-old woman from Jeffersonville, Indiana, battling lung cancer who has gained a large following on Instagram as the “Instagranny” after her great-grandson created an account for her in January 2014.


On January 3rd, 2014, Simpson’s 18-year-old great grandson Zach Belden[1] registered her for an Instagram account[2] and began posting photographs and videos of Simpson as she fights lung cancer. By February 20th, the account had gained over 2,000 followers.

On February 24th, Simpson posted a video of herself dancing to Pharrell Williams’ 2013 song “Happy” from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack album. As of March 2014, the video has over 34,000 likes.

That same day, Williams began following Simpson on Instagram. On March 17th, the recording artist posted a message on his account[3] urging his fans to follow GrandmaBetty33:

“Let’s help @grandmabetty33 get to 100K followers! All the love and support on her Instagram account brings a smile to her face as she fights cancer. Happiness is a human right. Let’s keep @grandmabetty33 smiling”

On March 13th, The Huffington Post[6] covered Simpson’s Instagram account.

The same day, the Twitter account[4] @GrandmaBetty33 was created, though @GrandmaBetty33’s Instagram account confirmed the Twitter account was not created by or for Simpson. The account posts links to the media coverage surrounding Simpson, and as of March 2014, it has gained over 4,000 followers. As of March 14th, @Grandma Betty’s Instagram account had gained over 23,000 followers.

On March 14th, Simpson was featured on ABC Nightly News.[7] When speaking about her cancer in the interview she explained:

“I don’t even think about it.”

On March 20th, @GrandmaBetty33 revealed the account’s official logo (shown below) created by @1FaceWatch.[5]


As of March 24th, 2014, Simpson has gathered over 430,000 Instagram followers.

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