Thousands send pet pictures to Valley teen cancer patient

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- A small gesture to cheer up a boy who's battling cancer has gone viral on Facebook. Now, half a million people across the globe are sharing pictures of their pets online, trying to bring a smile to the face of a teenage boy who's hospitalized here in the Valley.

The Facebook event, titled "Photo Doggies for Anthony" was started by Roberta Lucero-Koron with a simple message: "Hi all. My friend Kristen Lyons has her son Anthony at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Some days he gets doggie visits and some he does not. They make him smile. I thought if I create this event, you can post a picture of your dog to help make him smile. His mom shows them to him and he smiles. This event has gone viral and Anthony and his mom Kristen are smiling happily. Me, too."

Within days, thousands of people from around the world began posting pictures of their furry best friends with well wishes for Anthony.

According to his mother, Anthony is currently undergoing chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Anthony's mother posted this message on the "Photo Doggies for Anthony" Facebook page: "I want to thank each and every one of you for sending your doggie and occasional kitty pictures. We have laughed, 'ohhhed' and 'ahhed' at every single photo and video. So far it has really been a Joy and I appreciate everyone sharing their pets with us and the personal messages to Anthony are truly awesome. He is undergoing chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He's in-patient right now but we will hopefully be out in a few days. 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 Kristen and Anthony."

As of New Year's Eve, more than 2,000 photos had been collected, with that number rising by the hour. By Sunday, that number of posts had reached half a million!!

The photos include supportive messages like this: "Hi Anthony, this is Jax from New York City. He is becoming a therapy dog so he can visit kids like you in the hospital. Jax is giving you his biggest smile. Lots of kisses coming your way!"

The organizer of the "Photo Doggies for Anthony" wrote this message on the page: "Kristen, Anthony and I cannot believe how viral this event took off. We've seen some awesome doggie photos from Dubai to Australia. And they are still coming in. As of right now, over 2K photos and more than 7K people have been invited. Anthony, the world is praying for you."

On Friday, January 2, Anthony went back to the hospital for more chemotherapy. He is scheduled to be there for about a week.

Here is the update Roberta posted on Jan. 4: "God Bless you and God Bless the world wide web. We are over 1/2 million photos. Anthony is smiling joyfully because of YOU. This has gotten so viral that it is making local and soon national news. One thing I have to say is, make yourself smile too by looking at these beautiful animals that God gave us. I can't stop crying from tears of happiness. Roberta."

If you'd like to share a photo of your pet, visit the Facebook page.