Sophia's Wish to Give Back

In 2017, Sophia was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and immediately underwent aggressive chemotherapy. “I was only 12-years-old at the time,” says Sophia of her diagnosis. “I tried to stay as postive as I could.” But following her treatments she didn’t feel like herself: she missed her family and friends, endured frequent blood work and daily injections, and suffered side effects like bone pain and loss of appetite. She lost her hair and felt uncomfortable in wigs. She feared her future.

In the spring of 2017, Sophia referred herself for a wish. She had come a long way since her diagnosis and felt she had something to offer others in her situation. “I wanted to help others cope with what I went through,” she says.

Sophia wrote a book of tips for cancer patients, full of all the things she learned throughout her journey. She planned to distribute “Sophia’s Tips” to her peers at the Stollery Children’s Hospital and the Cross Cancer Institute, but wanted to include other items in a care package. Sobeys/Safeway stepped in to help, donating toiletries and other necessities, and gift cards for coffee and groceries. 

Together with their generous donation, Sobeys and Safeway employees volunteered to help create Sophia’s care packages. “I can’t believe so many people came to help do this,” Sophia said on her wish day. “It’s amazing!”

A few weeks after Sophia, her family, and dozens of volunteers packed over 300 bags, Sophia delivered her care packages. They were received gratefully by the Cross Cancer Institute and the Oncology Unit at the Stollery Children’s Hospital where they are already having an impact on new patients. “This is going to do so many good things for so many families,” says Alison Naylor, child life specialist at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. “I’m impressed that she thought of something so wonderful to give back.”

“It was something that gave you some hope," said Sophia's mom. "Hope that it will be over, and it will be good.” 

“I feel like I’ve accomplished something big,” concludes Sophia.

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