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Instagram Deleted A Mom's Account That Shared Her Daughter's Fight Against Cancer

Lauren Hammersley said she is upset and confused after pictures chronicling her daughter Hazel's cancer fight vanished without explanation.

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Lauren Hammersley's daughter Hazel was diagnosed with Stage 3 neuroblastoma shortly after her second birthday. Over the next few years, she survived six rounds of chemo, radiation, and surgery. At one point, she spent three weeks in the ICU.

Hammersley told BuzzFeed News as the family embarked on the terrifying journey, she found it difficult to keep their large extended family updated. "It was very emotionally draining to tell the stories over and over," she said.


Hammersley decided to create a blog, Facebook, and Instagram page to keep their family updated on Hazel's progress.

Facebook: ourlittlehazelnut

Soon after Hazel was diagnosed, her family made headlines for posting a sign on her hospital room window that said "Send Pizza."

After the story was picked up by national outlets, Hammersley noticed her social media accounts begin to gain followers. Hazel's Instagram eventually got approximately 10,000 followers, and her Facebook got nearly 120,000 fans.

Hammersley said the influx of followers was a little overwhelming at first, but "was so encouraging."

The mom of five said she was blown away by the prayers and nice thoughts from commenters on social media. "It really was incredible, and we really felt the power of their prayers and their support during that time," she said.

Facebook: ourlittlehazelnut

Hammersley shared intimate photos of Hazel's treatment, and provided updates as she fought for her life. At one point, she said, a photo of Hazel was seen by 7 million people.

Hammersley said it was incredible to see "just to see how far-reaching her story was."

Hazel is now four, and finished treatment about a year ago. Recently, Hammersley tried to log into her Instagram account for Hazel, but was told the login was invalid.

Facebook: ourlittlehazelnut

When she logged onto her personal Instagram account, she found the account, @Hope_for_Hazel, was gone. She said there was no explanation as to why it was deleted.


She added that one of the main reasons she's disappointed the pictures are gone is she was hoping to show her daughter all of the nice messages people left for her when she got old enough.

Facebook: ourlittlehazelnut

She said she wanted Hazel to be able to experience how people from around the world fought for her and prayed for her.

"When she's old enough to understand, I feel like that’s such an incredible thing to be able to share with her," she said.

Hammersley said she also knows of other families whose Instagram accounts for their children fighting cancer have been deleted, and she wants Instagram to address those accounts, too.

An Instagram spokesperson told BuzzFeed News they have reached out to Hammersley.

The spokesperson said:

Community is the most important thing at Instagram, and Hazel's story has touched the hearts of many, including ours. While we can't comment on the specifics of what happened, we're so sorry it's caused confusion and frustration. We've reached out to Lauren to let her know that we're here for help or questions.

Even though she is upset about losing the photos and comments, Hammersley said she knows she has a lot to be thankful for.

Facebook: ourlittlehazelnut / Via Trisha Larson Photography

"I have a living miracle in my life every day and I am forever thankful and losing pictures can NEVER take that away from us!" she wrote on Facebook.

Hammersley tells BuzzFeed News she has been contacted by Instagram and told why her account was deleted.

The reason, she said, is that her account was reported as an underage account. Instagram's terms of use states that any user of the site must be at least 13 years old.

Instagram informs users when their account has been reported, and gives them 14 days to respond and verify that an adult is actually running the account. However, Hammersley said she never got the notification.

So, sadly all of the images on the account have been lost forever, she said.

"(An Instagram representative) are checking this notification system for flaws now in hopes that it won't happen again," Hammersley said. "Also, she is going to see if we can get the username back and will have a team help me rebuild the account with the photos I have saved and on Facebook."

Hammersley said she is sad her account was deleted, but is keeping it in perspective.

"The important thing is that Hazel beat Cancer and is still with me!" she said. "And we get to continue to bring light to childhood cancer!"

Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Stephanie McNeal at

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