A family have released a tear-jerking photo of their toddler undergoing cancer treatment to highlight the reality of childhood cancer.
Six-year-old Sophia Soto from Florida in the US was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma at just 14 months old after tumours were discovered behind her eyes and on one of her kidneys.
A heart-rending picture of Sophia having a port (also known as a catheter) inserted in her chest as part of her cancer treatment has recently gone viral.
But luckily the little girl has been in remission for five years and now looks like a completely different child compared to the one in the photo.
“The picture of Sophia upset really does home in on the reality of childhood cancer,” said her mom, Rosie.
“She was having a lead (port) put on her chest for her treatment, which she didn’t want, hence why Sophia was so upset.
“I look back at the picture now and wonder how I did it. It was so hard watching my little girl so ill.”
Rosie became concerned about Sophia after she began developing bruising around her eyes, something she claims doctors repeatedly dismissed as being from a fall.
It wasn’t until the worried mom took Sophia to see an eye specialist that they suspected the toddler had tumours behind her eyes causing the bruising.
“Sophia kept getting bruising on her eyes and I didn’t recall her falling over or anything, so I didn’t understand where they were come from.
“I kept taking her to the doctors because the bruising wasn’t going away, but they just said it must have been from a bump or something.
“Sophia wasn’t referred for a scan or biopsy until I went to see an eye specialist with her who knew straight away it was caused by a tumour.
“She was sent for an MRI where black spots appeared on the scans confirming the tumours behind her eyes.
“Then it was a biopsy, which found the tumours on one of her kidneys as well. This led to her stage 4 neuroblastoma diagnosis,” Rosie said.
After being diagnosed in March 2014, the then 14-month-old endured 60 rounds of chemotherapy, 20 rounds of radiation and a stem-cell transplant over six months.
Following her treatment, Sophia has been in remission since November 2014 and has been medication-free for two years.
Sophia isn’t yet classified as cancer-free, which means she still goes for checkups every six months with specialists.
The brave girl still has tumours behind her eyes that can’t be removed due to their placement, but doctors believe the tumours are benign and therefore not causing Sophia harm.
“Doctors are reluctant to remove the tumours Sophia has behind her eyes as they’ve said the surgery could disfigure her.
“While they are tumours, doctors are reasonably confident they aren’t cancerous so we’ve decided to not have the surgery right now, but it may be something she has when she’s older,” the mom said.
Sophia is like any other fun-loving child and looking at her you’d never know she had cancer.
The six-year-old loves to dance and hopes of becoming a vet one day.
“No one can imagine what she went through looking at her now – she just looks like a normal, regular child,” Rosie said.
“Sophia has her moments when she asks about when she was sick and has questions about her treatment scars, but overall she’s a pretty happy girl.
“If I was to say anything to other parents with children battling cancer, I’d say to them to not give up, to stay positive and keep your faith.
“It’s really important not to compare your child’s process to anyone else as everyone battles illnesses differently. Every situation is different.
“We’re over the moon that Sophia is doing so well now. We’re really blessed she’s such a fighter.”
Source: Magazine Features