FRUIT HEIGHTS -- Mustaches, whether real or fake, tickle the funny bone of 9-year-old Maddie Morris.
Maddie is recovering from having a tumor surgically removed from underneath her brain at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City.
About 90 percent of the tumor, the size of two golf balls, was removed from Maddie's pituitary gland after her parents, Chad and Shelly Morris, of Fruit Heights, noticed she was seldom using her left arm.
An MRI at the hospital revealed the tumor, resulting in her recent surgery.
As part of her recovery process, a social media effort was begun in which family, friends, acquaintances and strangers are cheering Maddie on by posting hundreds of images of people and pets sporting either real or fake mustaches.
"She just thinks mustaches are so funny," Shelly said of her daughter, who recently admitted her desire to grow a 5-foot-wide mustache.
Maddie has even received images from some quasi-famous people wearing mustaches, Shelly said, declining to name names to protect people's privacy.
"The nurses call her famous and ask for her autograph," Shelly said.
But what makes Maddie laugh the hardest, she said, are the real mustaches that, because of their unique style, can be mistaken for being fake.
Babies and pets pictured wearing fake mustaches also get Maddie laughing, said Shelly, who admits that those around Maddie have worked hard to cheer her up through what has been an emotional and often painful ride.
"We have our roller coasters of up and down (days)," she said.
But the surgery is already proving to be successful, as there has been a marked improvement in Maddie's ability to use her left limbs, Shelly said.
She said the hope is that Maddie, who has been hospitalized for a week, will return home by this weekend.
As much enjoyment as Maddie is getting out of this mustache campaign, Shelly said, Maddie has already asked her father not to grow a mustache.
"(Maddie) told me that she thinks all of this happened for a reason," Shelly said. "She is just not sure what that reason is."