Note: we are republishing this story to commemorate Sophie's life and raise awareness about children suffering from Cancer. You can show your support for Sophie by visiting her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/sophiethebrave as well as her blog here: https://sophiethebrave.com/?fbclid=IwAR3PjVpYRhehWOyQX0fxF964brUmsrFjgjU5XTspqAoz6HKkMzEdmGoRug8
When their two-year-old girl was not feeling well, Shelby and Jonathan Skiles assumed that she was just suffering from allergies. However, when Sophie stopped breathing one night, the distraught parents followed the ambulance to the hospital, where they got devastating news – their baby had T-cell lymphoma.
The aggressive chemo was not enough to stop the spread of the cancer, and the treatments affected her ability to talk, walk, use her hands, and eat. She needed a stem cell transplant.
After spending countless hours by her baby’s side, Shelby noticed a nurse doing her best to remain unnoticed. She snapped a picture when the nurse’s back was turned.
Posting it on social media, she wrote: “I see you. I see your face drop a little when she sees you and cries. You try so many ways to ease her fears and win her over. I see you hesitate to stick her or pull Band-Aids off. You say ‘No owies’ and ‘I’m sorry’ more times in one day than most people say ‘thank you.’”
Shelby stated that she watched as the nurses carried armloads of medicines and supplies into one child’s room while their phones rang from another room down the hall. She observed them trying so hard not to make too much noise at night and stroking little bald heads as they tucked covers around the children to give them some warmth and comfort. She saw nurses holding crying moms and babies left alone.
She watched the nurses check on Sophie even when she wasn’t their patient; observed as they made as many calls as necessary to get Sophie whatever she needed.
“You check on me as often as you check on her. You sit and listen to me ramble for 10 minutes even though your phone is buzzing and your to-do list is a mile long,” she wrote.
She saw how they tried to make each patient’s stay as comfortable as possible - painting a cartoon character on the new kid’s window, cheering enthusiastically for the child taking laps around the nurse’s station, and playing Nerf guns.
“I see you hold tiny hands, change dirty sheets, translate medical talk for parents, and wipe your eyes coming out of a particularly hard room. I see you put on gloves, masks, and a gown then pause before you hang an IV bag of poison chemo for my kid,” Shelby wrote. “I see you. We all see you.”
“No amount of snack baskets or cards can fully express how appreciated you are. You are Jesus to us every single day. Our children wouldn’t get what they need without you. Moms like me wouldn’t feel sane or heard without you. You save our babies and we couldn’t do this without you,” she concluded.
She signed the post: “A mom that sees all you do and loves you dearly for it.”
Shelby’s post not only resonated with the nurses she dedicated it to, but also with parents who share similar experiences and see the nurses as the backbone of the pediatric unit.