11-year-old New York cancer patient who was bullied online surprised with kindness

U.S. & World

ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — An 11-year-old girl with cancer encountered a different kind of pain from online bullies, but her family and friends made sure kindness prevailed.

Anna Labella has been battling Ewing’s sarcoma bone cancer since 2019. Her cancer came back in March.

“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 made 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 Labella.  

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

An organization called Fight All Monsters and others cheered 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 sixth-grade math teacher, Jody Balash, drove an hour and a half to see her student — and more.

“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.

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

Anna and her family say the love and support make 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.

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

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