Sixteen-year-old Anthony Lyons has acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He’s currently receiving treatment at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where he loves getting visits from therapy dogs, according to Fox 10 Phoenix.
However, therapy dogs can’t visit every day, so two family friends decided to do something to cheer Lyons up and let him see dogs whenever he wants to.
Roberta Lucero-Koron and Ro Joe created a Facebook event called Photo Doggies for Anthony. The page, which is no longer available, let family, friends, and strangers post pictures of their dogs with Lyons. The Facebook event page went viral, and soon thousands of people had posted well-wishes for Lyons, along with photos and videos of their dogs.
Unfortunately, the page has since been shut down. A Facebook profile under Anthony Lyons’ name says someone posted a picture of a dead dog on the original page, which prompted the shutdown.
And so, a Facebook group called Photos of Doggies for Anthony and a Facebook event called Photo Doggies For Anthony both quickly emerged in its wake. Thousands of people have resumed posting pictures of their dogs on both pages, along with messages for Lyons.
“God Bless you and God Bless the world wide web…we are over 1/2 million photos…Anthony is smiling joyfully because of YOU,” Lucero-Koron wrote on the original event page.
Kristen Lyons, Anthony’s mum, wrote on the original event page: “I am amazed at how quickly this event has blown up and it makes me so happy to know how many people enjoy their pets as much as Anthony and I do. Your pets have brightened our days so much and it just shows you the power of pet therapy and animal healing. This just shows what great people animal lovers are and we are really feeling the love from you and your pets in this difficult time. Thank you all so much from the bottom of our hearts. Love Kris10 [sic] and Anthony.”
Last week, Lyons returned to Phoenix Children’s Hospital for more chemotherapy treatments, Fox 10 Phoenix reports. In addition to the viral dog photo campaign, there’s also a crowdfunded GiveForward fundraiser to help the Lyons family with the cost of Anthony’s treatments.