Our daughter Sophie was a beautiful girl inside and out. She had the ability to light up a room with her smile, and anyone lucky enough to come into contact with her was struck by her sparkling personality, energy and ability to engage with children and adults equally. She could make the grumpiest persons heart melt just by spending time with them.
Sophie loved school. She had the ability to learn quickly and learning came naturally to her. She would try her best at everything. However, she was not competitive in nature, was always happy to ‘just be’ and would celebrate her friends’ success as if she had won herself. Sophie’s friends were also incredibly important to her (we came second to her best friends!). When together they were a force to be reckoned with. With twinkling eyes and infectious giggles they were always hatching plans.
Sophie was a fabulous sister to her little brother Isaac and he adored her. They would spend many summer hours in the garden building dens, making potions, having water fights and playing with their rabbits. She loved to sit and read him books, play with lego with him and go for bike rides. She would always look out for him at school.
She took it all in her stride
In the winter of 2011 we began to notice a change in Sophie. She complained of headaches whilst exercising at school. Her love for sport diminished and she seemed to struggle, lose enthusiasm and did not wish to go. We worried, took her to the GP and he booked a heart scan to check whether the headaches were cardiac related. We continued to worry about Sophie as slowly her personality seemed to change. She seemed to become depressed, fatigued and lacked confidence. By January 2012 we were very worried and discussed our concerns with the GP and again a week later with the cardiology consultant who referred Sophie to a neurologist.
“We will miss her sense of humour and fun, her outgoing and adventurous streak; her kind, caring and generous nature; her beautiful smile. The only thing we can do now is to raise money for crucial research into brain tumours and hope that one day no families will have to go through what we have”
From then Sophie’s condition dramatically deteriorated. Her moods were out of control, she lost co-ordination and her speech slowed. When we took her to the Emergency department, desperate that nothing was being done, our worst fears were realised. Two days later Sophie had emergency surgery for a vast brain tumour which had grown from her brain stem, it went well, but during surgery she had suffered a stroke. We were devastated and were made aware that her rapid deterioration was indicative of a fast growing tumour. Five days later we were told that Sophie had a Grade 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme with Oligodendrocytoma and that the Consultant hoped that she would see Christmas 2012.
Sophie started a course of oral chemotherapy and had 6 weeks radiotherapy. She took it all in her stride and never complained or moaned throughout her treatment. She dealt with it all so much better than us. She was determined to get back on her feet and to get back to school and her friends as soon as possible – which she did. She had incredible determination, courage and bravery above what anybody could have expected and managed to keep her sense of humour and endearing cheekiness. She was kind, generous and cared for others, even when undergoing her own treatment.
With us for too short a time
We kept the diagnosis to ourselves, family and close friends. We wanted Sophie to have as normal a life as possible for as long as possible. We desperately sought alternatives and clinical trials only to find that a brain stem tumour automatically eliminates the person from almost all trials.
After six months of improvement and as many memorable days out and events as we could fit in Sophie began to deteriorate. After further scans and surgery for hydrocephalus Sophie’s treatment moved to palliation and we went to the local childrens hospice. Sophie decided that this was where she wanted to stay and she finally lost her battle against her brain tumour on the 27th December 2012.
Although with us for too short a time Sophie touched many people’s lives and she made a positive impression on all those she met. We loved her very much and are not sure how we are going to cope now she has gone. It is not the natural order in life and death. We will miss her sense of humour and fun, her outgoing and adventurous streak; her kind, caring and generous nature; her beautiful smile. The only thing we can do now is to raise money for crucial research into brain tumours and hope that one day no families will have to go through what we have.