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Plea for pizza brings outpouring of support for hospitalized child

July 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The family of a 2-year old girl battling cancer taped a sign in a hospital window asking for pizza. Once a picture of the sign got on the Internet, the hospital was flooded with pizzas.

Hazel Hammersley, a 2-year-old Simi Valley girl diagnosed with neuroblastoma in April, has been spending weeks at a time in the pediatric cancer center at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Time there can move pretty slowly for kids. So Hazel's grandmother came up with an idea.

"My mom was telling me when she was in her 20s she put a pizza sign up in her window saying 'Send Pizza,' and nothing ever happened, it was just something fun to do to pass the time, and so I said 'Oh, let's do it!'" said Lauren Hammersley, Hazel's mother.

Photos on the Hammersleys' blog show Hazel and her cohorts making their plea for pizza, which initially struck out.

"We had it up for a couple of days and nothing happened. I didn't think anything of it. And then Saturday happened," said Lauren Hammersley.

That is when someone took a photo of the sign and posted it on the Reddit website. Dozens of pizzas poured into the hospital -- most, Lauren says, were turned away.

"I think more than 20. Definitely enough to feed my staff," said Dr. Hung Tran, Hazel's doctor.

Hazel, of course, had first dibs. But there was clearly more than enough to go around.

"We had a big party, the nurses all ate pizza, the other kids did, and the security guards downstairs did, I mean it was everywhere," said Lauren.

The sign has been taken down, the window is clear. The Hammersleys say the hospital asked them not to put any more signs up so they won't be flooded with pizzas again.

But those pizzas may not be the biggest payoff from the sign.

"Twenty pizzas is great, but if we can get more funding and more donations into childhood cancer research, I just think that would be so great," said Lauren.

Meantime, word of the pizza deluge is spreading through the hospital, prompting new window requests from other patients.


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