Sophie was a small child of 10 years old when she was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer just above her left knee. Her diagnosis was synovial sarcoma; a soft tissue cancer which mostly affects kids and young adults. Following her diagnosis, Sophie spent years dealing with specialist visits, surgeries, treatments – all the while dealing with numerous negative side effects of these interventions. In 2013 we found out that all the rigorous treatments and surgeries had been unsuccessful and an amputation of her leg, above her left knee, was inevitable.
After the amputation, Sophie was determined to take control of her narrative. She mastered her prosthetic leg immediately, pushing herself and working hard through physical therapy. She even began to run again. Despite all the adversity, Sophie continued her studies and graduated from Central Bucks South High School with good grades and a passion to help others with their disability. Though having suffered more than most do in a lifetime, Sophie always remained full of life, hope, courage, and positivity. Nothing could crush Sophie’s strong spirit and her ability to live independently gave her much pride.
Sophie was accepted to Temple University and began her studies to become a social worker. She knew how important it was to provide services for the needy and those with disabilities. Her compassion opened the eyes of those around her to the everyday struggles of those limited by their disability. Sophie was an advocate for making sure our sidewalks were suitable for wheelchairs, something she would urge people to think about as they walked. She had a passion for others and drive to increase empathy that was rivaled by none. Her goals were always to be an active member in her community making sure to provide hands on assistance to those .
Unfortunately, even after all the treatments, amputation, and surgeries, the cancer metastasized into her lungs. Sophie’s 10 year battle with synovial cancer was over, and nobody won. Just 5 days after her 21st birthday, Sophie passed away. She left behind beautiful memories, an uninhibited laugh, a passion for life, and the lesson to always care for others.
On her 21st birthday Sophie asked her family and friends to donate her birthday gift money to Sarcoma Foundation. In 2018 to honor her wish, her friends and family participated in “Race to Cure” organized by Sarcoma Foundation as “Team Sophie” and raised about $10,000 for the foundation.
Documenting Sophie’s Journey
In February, 2015, Sophie began to document her experiences living with synovial sarcoma cancer under the tag “Silken Twine,” inspired by a William Blake poem with the same name. She journaled her raw emotions navigating the ebbs and flows of her life — candidly speaking about undergoing treatments, owning her femininity, developing lasting friends, and coming of age. By providing the world a glimpse into her story, Sophie sought to provide solace to her peers going through similar journeys.
“There’s something good to be found in every hardship in our lives,” Sophie said, “and finding those silken twines is what helps me, at least, get through the day.”
“Silken Twine: Solace for pediatric cancer patients” honors the memory of Sophie, a 21-year-old fun, loving, and vibrant personality. The foundation was formed to provide solace to families of children and young adults with cancer. We want to continue the journey that Sophie had started. She is not here to continue her work but we can keep her message alive by embodying her spirit. Silken Twine is the continuation of a life’s work started by Sophie and continued on by her family, friends, and all who contribute to her cause.