“Be Smart, Be Brave, and you are strong!” - Sophia’s Family Motto

In 2015, a smart and beautiful little girl named Sophia graced the Runway to Hope stage at her first Spring Fashion Soiree! Little did we know, this sweet girl and her family had already been through so much! When Sophia was two months old, she was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma Stage 4. Leading up to her diagnosis, she suffered from excessive sleeping and weight & hair loss, which prompted her family to see the doctor. As Sophia became older and was still going through treatment, she began asking questions to her family. A typical three year old may ask questions like, “Why is the sky blue?” or “What causes a rainbow?”, but Sophia was asking questions like, “Why do children have cancer?” or “Why is she losing all of her hair?” When a child is diagnosed, their “childhood” is taken from them. During the time Sophia was in active treatment, she struggled with why she wasn’t she able to do a lot of things like other normal kids and longed to be an active and healthy child. Her mother struggled answering these questions, just like any other parent would.

Thankfully, Sophia is currently in remission and has been for about three years. She is still on protocol, which means Sophia has to go in for scans every six months to make sure she remains no evidence of disease. During her time in active treatment, the family traveled to All Children’s Hospital for a stem cell transplant and lived there for one month. They also traveled to Michigan for a trial drug. Sophia has undergone five surgeries and still suffers from the side effects from treatment including hearing problems, cavities, growth spurs, and scars that will never go away. The daily reminder of her going through cancer lives in their everyday life. The family is constantly worried and scared that her cancer will return and she would have to battle once again. However, that time in their life brought the family closer and stronger than ever. Sophia is now five years old and she accepts that she did have cancer. She is proud to be a hero for other children. She also loves animals, especially dogs, and hopes to be a veterinarian one day! In the meantime, Sophia enjoys rainbow dash, the color purple and loves God.

Neuroblastoma is the third most common childhood cancer, after leukemia, and cancer of the central nervous system. Neuroblastoma is commonly difficult to treat. In the United States, about 600 children are diagnosed with neuroblastoma every year. Every 16 hours, a child that has been suffering from neuroblastoma dies. Children who are diagnosed over the age of two only have a 30% chance of survival. These statistics are terrifying and with additional support in curing childhood cancers, these numbers will only get better! We are honored to have precious Sophia in our lives and thankful that she survived an incredibly life changing disease.

The Runway to Hope team is very excited to announce that Sophia will be on the runway this year for her fourth time at the upcoming 8th Annual Spring Fashion Soiree on May 19th, 2018! Sophia is considered a professional at Runway to Hope and loves to walk with her buddy, Ella! Sophia’s mother says that walking the runway makes her feel special and like a rockstar. Her siblings look up to her and always feel that she deserves the spotlight for what she went through along with all of the other amazing children. Her mother always gets emotional seeing Sophia onstage and loves seeing her being treated like a superstar. Sophia and her family’s motto is be smart, be brave and you are strong! This motto is seen by Sophia’s bravery onstage and off.

If you want to come see Sophia and other amazing children at our Spring Fashion Soiree, please call our office at 407-802-1544 or click on Purchase Tickets on the home page of our website.

Runway to Hope / 189 South Orange Avenue, Suite 1800 / Orlando, FL 32801 / 407.802.1544