Dog lovers from around the world are using social media to rally around a Phoenix teen who is undergoing treatment for cancer by posting to a Facebook page called “Photo Doggies for Anthony.”
Bob McClay and I got to meet the teen who inspired the page, Anthony Lyons, and his mom, Kristen, this weekend when they joined us on Arizona’s Morning News Weekend Show on KTAR News.
Anthony, who is 16 years old, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last July and took a particular liking to a group of therapy dogs that kept him company during treatments for his illness.
A friend of Kristen’s noticed Anthony’s love for the dogs, and decided to use social media to bring even more adorable pups into the teen’s life. She started the “Photo Doggies for Anthony” Facebook page just before Christmas, calling on friends and family to post pics of their pooches for Anthony to enjoy.
Now Anthony said more than 1.5 million doggie pictures have been posted to the page. His favorite: A picture of a dog leaning back on a couch, wearing a robe and holding a coffee mug.
Anthony also loves the “guilty” pictures. For example, “there was one photo where the dog had just ripped up this person’s entire couch and he was standing there like he didn’t even do it,” he said.
Dogs are always happy and that makes Anthony happy. Although he is a talkative and fun kid, Kristen said Anthony wasn’t that way during his treatments at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Until the therapy dogs came to visit.
“The nurses see the dogs come in and think ‘Who is this kid? Because I’ve been dealing with him for 10 hours and he hasn’t said one word and now suddenly he can’t stop talking because the dog came in to visit him,'” Kristen said.
Even though the therapy dogs only stayed a few minutes, it changed Anthony’s attitude for the rest of the day. Now Anthony spends his time scrolling through the pictures on the Facebook page trying to like and comment on as many images as he can.
“It’s given us hope in people again,” Kristen said. “They’re giving personal messages or they have a picture of their dog that has a sign that says, ‘Hi Anthony, I hope you get well,’ so you know they took (the photo) for the page specifically. It’s really cool because it’s just so positive.”
I agree. It’s heartwarming to think about how something so simple as posting a picture of your dog can instantly brighten the day of a teenager dealing with a horrific disease like cancer.
We can’t cure cancer overnight, but we can make Anthony smile. I posted a picture of my toy poodle, Skyler. I encourage you to share a photo of your doggie as well and brighten Anthony’s day.