Commemorating a Year of Healing: Sophia’s Story

While many of us were cheerfully ringing in 2021 with friends and family, 5-year-old Sophia and her parents were grappling with devastating news — doctors had discovered a tumor in her pelvis.

Throughout the year, Sophia and her family spent countless hours traveling to UPMC Children’s from New Castle, Pa. In the neighborly spirit Pittsburgh is known for, Sophia received lots of love and support while she was receiving treatments.

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When Sophia arrived at the hospital that New Year’s Eve, she refused to wear her hospital gown. The nursing staff brought her a new nightgown that had been donated to the unit. Sophia’s mom Alyssa said, “[that nightgown] put the biggest smile on her face. She still wears it to this day.”

When Sophia’s hair began to fall out from chemotherapy, she struggled with having to part with her blonde locks. Her nurse Sam not only offered to cut Sophia’s hair but also promised that, in return, Sophia could cut his!

After a year of intensive chemotherapy, surgery, and physical and occupational therapy, Sophia’s treatment came to an end in October 2021 when she received the news that she was cancer-free! Sophia got to ring in 2022 happy, healthy, and thankful for her excellent care and the dedicated staff at UPMC Children’s.