After waiting nearly a week for her white blood cell count to rise so she could continue her cancer treatments, 2-year-old Hazel "Hazelnut" Hammersley got bored and hungry.
With the help of her parents and the staff at the Los Angeles Children's Hospital, Hazel taped up a sign from her fourth-floor window, asking for some pizza to be sent to her room.
"This sign was up for several days without even a single phone call asking to send up a pizza (which we completely expected!)," Hazel's mom, Lauren, blogged. "Then, on Saturday, it all changed."
One by one, pizza boxes started piling up in Hazel's room thanks to a Reddit user who spotted Hazel's sign while walking out of a grocery store. The redditor, ashortstorylong, posted a picture of the sign to the site's popular r/funny forum. From there, it reached the front page.
Hazel woke up from her nap to the smell of pizza and was so excited to chow down! Several other children and nurses came into the room, with music playing, and had themselves a wonderful pizza party. As of yesterday [Sunday] evening, there was more than 20 boxes delivered and more was coming! We had such a great time!
The response was so overwhelming the hospital put out a statement kindly asking for the pizza deliveries to stop.
"On behalf of the Hammersley family, thank you for spreading the word and we hope the photo of Hazel with a successful pizza delivery received spreads just as far and fast as the original photo has," the hospital stated.
Reddit's altruism, particularly involving pizza, is a cornerstone of the community. Reddit has helped raise $65,000 for an orphanage in Kenya, $170,000 for Doctors Without Borders, and more than $100,000 for Child’s Play, a charity that provides games and toys to children in the hospital. After the Boston Marathon bombings, Reddit flooded Boston with—what else?—pizza.
Hazel has been in and out of the hospital since April, when she was diagnosed with stage-three neuroblastoma, a form of cancer. She is currently receiving 18 months of treatment and is scheduled to have a fifth round of chemotherapy soon.
"We have been absolutely humbled and surprised by the outpouring of love and support from the online community and can only hope and pray that this brings awareness to Neuroblastoma and the Childhood Cancer Community," Lauren said. "Awareness and funding is severely lacking, and to help get better treatments and outcomes for our children, we need all the support we can get! I truly felt that God used this wonderful day to help lift, not only our families', but everyone on the 4th floor's spirits."
For more information on Hazel's story and to donate money for her treatment, please visit the Talbert Family Foundation.
Photos via Lauren Hammersley