Girl Photographs First and Last Days of School to Document Beating Cancer
Photos on the first and last day of school are a fun memento for many children — and parents — to track how a child has grown over the most recent school year. For 7-year-old Sophi Eber, her first and last day photos for this year are more important.
Eber was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma, a rare cancer, in February of 2016. Over the next several months, the youngster went through six rounds of chemotherapy, a further 14 radiation treatments, and a grueling surgery to remove a tumor from her body. All these treatments seemingly paid off when Eber was declared cancer-free in July of 2016.
A few weeks after beating cancer, Sophi Eber started first grade. She was hairless from treatment with a breathing tube in her nose, but still smiling. Last month, she finished first grade with the same smile — and a head of bright curly hair.
Her teacher, amazed at the difference in the girl’s appearance, snapped a photo of Eber near the end of the school year. In the picture, she held a photo of herself from the first day of school.
Bethany, Sophi Eber’s mother, shared the photo on social media — along with a quote from the teacher.
“What a difference a school year makes!” the post read on Facebook. “This picture shows how much your girl has gone through and she continues to just blow us away… her strength, determination, and amazing attitude inspires us! So grateful to have had the opportunity to know her and be her teachers!”
Eber shared the photo on the Sophi Strong Facebook group, as well as on Reddit, and it quickly went viral. The Reddit thread received nearly 2,500 comments, and continues to grow.
Bethany Ebner told the Huffington Post, “We wanted to show that it happens, that it’s not just sad, but that kids can overcome this and they can become stronger… so it was really meant to be hopeful and that was how it was received.”
She was also amazed by the reaction to the viral photo.
“We knew it was special and represented how far she had come — but the outpouring of support and love has been beyond our wildest expectations,” she wrote to Your Daily Dish. “Celebrate every victory! It’s easy to get burned out by the day to day of treatment, so when there is a win — take it with both hands.”
Sophi Eber isn’t completely out of the woods yet. There is a 50 to 60 percent chance that she’ll suffer a relapse. To combat a potential relapse, Sophi goes for screenings every three months. She is given a special vaccine as well.
Despite her ongoing medical treatment, the youngster has maintained a positive outlook. According to her mother, Sophi’s immediate reaction to her new viral fame was to help others.
“She is overwhelmed but wants to use this new fame to help other people,” her mom wrote to Your Daily Dish. “She wants to do YouTube videos that give people hope and inspiration.”