Heaven gained a dar­ling an­gel

Com­mu­nity day to show sup­port for girl who touched many

The Morning Bulletin - - SOPHIE REMEMBERED - SEAN FOX Sean.Fox@cap­news.com.au

A CLOSE-KNIT Rock­hamp­ton fam­ily has been rocked with the sud­den loss of nine year-old So­phie Stephen­son last week.

Brave So­phie had en­dured health prob­lems since birth af­ter doc­tors found a heart mur­mur when she was just two­days-old.

So­phie’s nana Kerry Smith was lost for words de­scrib­ing the im­pact the loss has had on their fam­ily.

Kerry was a sec­ond mother to her and the pair had formed a close bond.

Re­flect­ing on So­phie’s life and the im­por­tant role she played within her fam­ily, Kerry said her grand­daugh­ter was the “most amaz­ing girl I’ve ever met in my life”.

So­phie was eight-days-old when she had her first heart surgery, where she was given ex­ten­sive work on her ar­ter­ies to help her blood flow.

This was fol­lowed by two more surg­eries when she was 18-months-old and her con­di­tion was mon­i­tored on a weekly ba­sis.

In the past year and a half So­phie had three brain surg­eries but would come out of each op­er­a­tion with a smile on her face, which showed her great char­ac­ter.

As of Jan­uary this year, So­phie had en­dured three open heart, three brain and nu­mer­ous other op­er­a­tions.

A num­ber of years ago, the young war­rior was told she would be wheel­chair-bound.

It was re­vealed in an ar­ti­cle pub­lished in The Morn­ing Bul­letin in Jan­uary, So­phie would have needed to wait un­til she was 18-years-old to re­ceive what would have been a lifechang­ing dou­ble heart and lung trans­plant.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be.

Young War­rior

Through­out her life, So­phie proved to be a strong war­rior, hav­ing shown her will to live a nor­mal life by tak­ing up cheer­lead­ing and tram­polin­ing.

“She had strength be­yond her years, she gave us strength,” Kerry said.

Re­mem­bered for her zest of life, the for­mer Mount Archer State School stu­dent had dreamed of com­pet­ing in cheer­lead­ing at the Olympic Games.

Her other hob­bies in­cluded art and mak­ing new friends in the class­room. So­phie’s smile could light up a room.

“Every path she crossed, she left a mark there – the com­mu­nity in Rock­hamp­ton and be­yond has shown us that... she

touched so many lives,” Kerry said.

A GoFundMe page cre­ated to sup­port So­phie’s fam­ily has so far reached more than $2000.

Kerry was left feel­ing “ab­so­lutely blown away and so grate­ful” af­ter see­ing the amount of sup­port shown by the com­mu­nity.

A com­mu­nity day for So­phie will be held to­day from 1- 4pm near Vic­to­ria Park in Rock­hamp­ton.

Mem­bers of the com­mu­nity are in­vited to gather for a game of Poke­mon Go around the area in hon­our of So­phie, who was a lover of the game.

Play­ers are wel­come to use the #sparkle­for­so­phie hash­tag. “The sup­port we’ve re­ceived from the Poke­mon com­mu­nity has been amaz­ing,” Kerry said.

Com­mu­nity mem­bers have come to the aid of So­phie’s fam­ily by cook­ing meals and mow­ing their yard.

Sup­port So­phie’s fam­ily by head­ing to their GoFundMe page via www.gofundme.com/ so­phies -life-cel­e­bra­tion.

‘‘

EVERY PATH SHE CROSSED, SHE LEFT A MARK THERE ... SHE TOUCHED SO MANY LIVES.

SO­PHIE’S NANA, KERRY SMITH

Photo: Con­trib­uted

So­phie Stephen­son has been re­mem­bered by loved ones af­ter she passed away last Thurs­day.

Photo: Con­trib­uted

So­phie Stephen­son and dad Adam pat a dol­phin.

Photo: Con­trib­uted

LOVIING LIFE: So­phie Stephen­son ap­proached life head-on de­spite her health is­sues.

Photo: Con­trib­uted

So­phie Stephen­son, with mum Mel, had a smile that could light up any room and she made friends eas­ily.

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