Each week, Fourth and Gold will highlight a cancer warrior that has bravely and fiercely stood strong against childhood cancer. At Fourth and Gold, we want you to see the faces behind our drive and connect with them in a way you wouldn’t have been able to if you didn’t take the stand to demand #MoreThan4! Our precious kids have cancer, but cancer does not have them.
Sophia Perez, diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma at 4 years of age.
Current age: 5, DOB (01/11/2013
Favorite Things: Her favorite thing to do is watch music videos, dance, play with her sisters and do crafts
Favorite food: Pizza!
Her typical day at the hospital: While Sophia is inpatient, a typical day is waking up every 4 hours to do vitals, take morning medicine, do mouth care, get tons of iv medications, take a bath somewhere in between, mouth care again, lots of naps, watch her tablet and then nighttime meds and mouth care.
When Sophia is at home, a typical day would be 100% different! At home her schedule is trying to wake up at the same time as her big sister to eat breakfast then go to the clinic for bloodwork and then home to play with her little sister and enjoy her sisters company! Sophia absolutely adores her family and will do anything she can to keep up with her sisters!
If you know Sophia you know that she: has the BEST sense of humor, EVER! She’ll have you smiling and laughing in no time! She loves being the center of attention, except in the hospital. When she’s in the hospital, she tends to be a little moodier and wants things her way all the time (but really, who could blame her?!)
What you cannot see here is that Sophia has undergone:
- 8 rounds of high dose chemo
- Numerous blood and platelet transfusions
- 2 stem cell transplants (which are very intense and high risk)
- Sophia, at 5 years old, still has to undergo radiation therapy and 6 more months of immunotherapy (all hospital stays)
Sophia’s mom, on the hardest part of having a child with cancer: “The pain the child has to go through daily, not knowing the future, and Sophia not understanding why she’s sick and can’t go to school, or play softball anymore or just be home.”
One thing I wish people knew about childhood cancer: “It can happen to anyone! Childhood cancer is not rare!!”
Our biggest change since diagnosis: “Trying to live each day to the fullest. We use to put off doing fun activities because of money and now if Sophia is feeling good enough we try to go out and live because things can change in a matter of minutes with Sophia’s health.”
If you’ve been keeping up with Fourth and Gold since we launched in March, you’ve already met SO many wonderful families affected by childhood cancer and are probably starting to see the pattern of their responses “childhood cancer is not rare.” Our government only gives childhood cancer FOUR PERCENT of all funding that cancer as a whole raises. FOUR PERCENT! If there’s just ONE thing you do today to make a difference, tell someone about childhood cancer. Just tell them that 1 out of every 285 kids get diagnosed with some form of cancer. If you tell one person, maybe they’ll tell another. Soon, every single person that walks this world will know that childhood cancer is not rare, and it all started from YOU!
You see, Sophia deserves that. She deserves you taking 30 seconds out of her day to educate someone else. You know why? Because if your initial conversation starter happens to catch the ear of a politician that can make a HUGE difference, Sophia will have a better chance at life. For Sophia’s cancer treatment, only 3 new drugs have been approved since 1970. T-H-R-E-E. Neuroblastoma already has a 50/50 survival rate with these drugs. Don’t you think funding for childhood cancer is important? Don’t you think Sophia deserves more than a 50/50 survival rate? The treatment that Sophia receives could potentially do more harm than good. That doesn’t sound right, does it?
There are SO many ways you can participate in helping Sophia and hundreds of thousands of children like her and it doesn’t always involve money. Start a conversation, start doing research, go on Instagram and read the hashtag “MoreThan4” and you’ll be blown out of the water that as of right now, there are 91,458 public posts about “MoreThan4”. Post your own picture and use that hashtag. Let’s stepUP to childhood cancer and be an advocate for Sophia and other wonderful kids that have yet to even learn of their diagnosis. It takes a village…