Community surprises young cancer patient after online bullying

Health

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A little girl treated at Albany Medical Center used social media to connect but felt pain of another kind from online bullies. Her family and friends made sure kindness prevailed.

Anna Labella, an 11-year-old cancer patient, has been battling Ewing’s sarcoma bone cancer since 2019. Her cancer came back in March, and she has been feeling a little low since.

“The chemo is not responding, and her tumors have progressed to her skull. We started a new regimen so we’re keeping our fingers crossed,” said Jessica Labella, Anna’s mom.

While in isolation, she has been creating TikToks to help pass the time. Unfortunately, bullies tried to break her spirit by making fun of her for not having hair.

“We showed the hairbrush the next day and said here’s her hairbrush. She’s going to rock it when she grows her hair back after fighting this cancer battle,” said Jessica.  

Anna’s mom wanted to lift her daughter’s spirits, so she planned quite the surprise. Jessica told her daughter they were just going on a walk around the hospital. Then Anna was shocked to see that hundreds of people from her hometown of Ilion, near Syracuse, were gathered outside the hospital to see her.

The organization called Fight All Monsters and others cheered and held signs with words of encouragement. Through her hospital window Anna was smiling ear to ear.

“It was awesome because I haven’t been able to see my friends and my family a lot,” said Anna.

Her friends and family wanted to let her know that she’s not alone. Her 6th grade math teacher Jody Balash not only took the hour and a half drive but went above and beyond to see her student.

“Both of our teachers went on a crane to see me. Mrs. Balash was scared. It was amazing to see that, and it was heartwarming,” said Anna.

“I wanted just to see her and the smile on her face. I just wanted to make that happen again,” said Jody Balash.

Anna and her family were blown away by all the love and support. They say it makes all the difference.

“Thank you so much. We love every single one of you and we appreciate all your support. What the community does for Anna is amazing and it really pushes her to fight,” said Jessica Labella.

Her mom says Anna’s giving nature is unmatched. Even while battling cancer she still takes the time to do fundraisers for the hospital.

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