LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The mother of a young child who battled a rare cancer for over a year is fighting Instagram after the social media service deleted a profile that accounted the child’s journey.
In the fall of 2013, doctors did not expect Hazel Hammersley to survive her battle with neuroblastoma.
Today, Hazel is 4 and is the picture of perfect health, thanks to a hard-fought battle.
That battle was documented and shared with thousands of followers on Instagram, through the efforts of Hazel’s mother, Lauren.
“I didn’t post it on Facebook or the blog at all; it was only on Instagram that I posted a picture, and I said ‘Hey, this is what’s happening, she’s in the ICU, please pray,’ ” Hammersley said.
Lauren used the “Hope For Hazel” Instagram account as a type of online journal, noting Hazel’s fight for life.
“In the beginning, it was showing when she was feeling bad during treatment, or days we got to go home and really exciting moments,” Lauren said. “The day she shaved her head was another one, and then the day of her last chemo, that was another one. It ended up being shared with 7 million people.”
In April, however, Lauren noticed she was no longer receiving notifications for the account and was unable to sign in. Instagram had deleted the account.
Instagram’s terms of service state that a disabled account is permanent and that photos and comments are deleted forever.
Lauren says she had hoped to share those photos and comments with Hazel one day.
“The fact that she’s here and she’s healthy and she’s been through this horrific experience, I wanted her to be able to look back on that when she understood, to not only see the power that she had going through it, but the power of support that she had,” Lauren said.
Instagram requires users to be over the age of 13, though Lauren says she has always been clear that she was posting photos of Hazel, not as her.
Instagram reportedly has the ability to reinstate an account but has yet to comment on the matter.