Sask. girl becomes TikTok sensation by spreading one good vibe at a time, despite years in hospital
A video of 7-year-old Bella Thomson drawing amassed over 11 million views in 1 day
A Saskatchewan girl who has spent hundreds of days of her life in hospital has become a TikTok star overnight by spreading one good vibe at a time.
Swift Current's Bella Thomson, 7, was diagnosed with three rare conditions at birth, but that hasn't stopped her from enjoying everyday pleasures.
"Every day she is happy," Kyla Thomson, Bella's mother, told CBC's The Afternoon Edition.
"She's used to being on IVs for 17 hours a day, but as soon as she's unhooked, it's like watch out, we're going to go outside and play. She doesn't care if it's –20 C. She's like, 'Let's go sledding, let's draw, lets dance,' on a daily basis."
Bella's joy was captured on a TikTok video her mother posted to the social network on Wednesday. In it, Bella is sitting at a desk drawing a picture of a fox for a short story she is writing.
By Thursday, the video amassed over 11 million views and even caught the attention of platinum-selling recording artist Halsey, who messaged the Thomson family on Instagram.
"It's been pretty crazy. I literally started playing with TikTok a couple of days ago, and I just caught her in the moment doing something she loves, and it just blew up," Thomson said.
Finding happiness in isolation
In Bella's seven years, she has gone through 21 surgeries and spent over 800 days in four different hospitals.
"She's gone through so much [more] in her short life than most adults, and she is really my strength," Thomson said.
Bella was born with cartilage-hair hypoplasia, a type of dwarfism, and severe combined immunodeficiency, as she was born without an immune system. Bella also has Hirschsprung's disease, which affects the bowel.
"We're quite used to this isolation, restriction, quarantine lifestyle," Thomson said, noting that she shared the video of her daughter to show people they can be as happy as Bella.
"I've had friends, families and other medical moms and dads reach out to me and tell me what a light she is because of the joy she carries, even though what she's been through has been so much," Thomson said.
Thomson said she will continue to use social media to spread Bella's joy to other kids, but also to offer support to parents who have a sick child.
Thomson has her own struggles with mental health and dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder from living in hospital with her daughter.
"It's important for me to really raise awareness because I want to help other parents in children's hospitals," Thomson said.
"The focus, like it should be in a children's hospital, is solely … on the kids. But there is not a lot of support, if any, for most parents and what they go through watching their child endure trauma."
Thomson said her daughter continues to be her rock, her inspiration and her source of joy.
"I just think about everything my daughter has been through … and I just remind myself there are lots of things that are difficult, but if she can do it, I can do it."
WATCH | Bella Thomson thanks the millions who made her TikTok famous:
With files from CBC's Afternoon Edition