Sophia Myers, a first-grader at Oak Park Elementary diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in February, has been accepted into a clinical trial to help her battle a rare cancer at Emory Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
The clinical trial, Sophia’s mother, Angel Myers said Monday, is conducted in conjunction with Emory School of Medicine. Sophia’s new treatment plan, which includes radiation to shrink her tumor, begins Tuesday.
On Monday morning, Sophia was scheduled for a round of tests, blood work and consultations. Her mother and father, Joshua Myers, have been by her side since her diagnosis.
“Sophia has been such a brave girl but is scared,” Angel Myers said Monday morning. She asked the community to pray for the little girl, whom her parents affectionately call Bug, as well as her medical team.
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On Feb. 22, Sophia’s parents learned their only child, 7, was suffering from diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas, known as DIPG, a rare and aggressive cancer that affects 200 to 300 children nationwide each year.
Sophia’s parents learned the news after her pediatrician noticed some irregularities and ordered an MRI.
Since then, doctors at Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital at University Medical Center in Jackson have treated her. The family also consulted with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston before selecting the team in Atlanta.
A community’s support
Since the diagnosis, South Mississippi residents have set up numerous fundraisers to help the family with expenses.
District Attorney Tony Lawrence set up the Sophia Myers Benefit Bank Account at any branch of Coast Community Bank. A relative also set up a GoFundMe account.
Since Sophia’s diagnosis, the little girl who loves to dress up in princess outfits was guest of honor at a surprise party at the Little Children’s Park in Ocean Springs, where Disney characters, such as Snow White, attended to honor her.
Sophia has also served as honorary princess over the Krewe of Neptune parade in Biloxi in February, and Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran presented her with a key to the city.
Other fundraisers, including one set up by friends of the family in conjunction with Chik-Fil-A, has resulted in the sales of more than 2,000 meals, with all the proceeds going to Sophia and her family. Volunteers are handing out the meals Tuesday at drop-off points in Pascagoula, Biloxi and Gulfport.
Other businesses, including Prep By K.U.G. in Ocean Springs and Panache Apparel and Accessories in Gulfport, have sold items to help the Myers family.
A mother’s prayer
Angel Myers is asking for special prayers for Sophia and all affected by her illness:
“If you pray, please pray. Pray for a miracle. Pray for healing. Pray for the physical comfort of Bug. Pray for her energy. Pray for the side effects of the medications to be minimal. Pray for wisdom for her team. Pray that she continues to be brave and fearless.
“Pray that we can overcome the grief we feel now so that we can be fully present in every moment of her precious life. Pray for her little friends who are so young and innocent and who are burdened with the grief and fears. PLEASE, JUST PRAY.”
Pick up your Chic-fil-A meals
What: Chic-fil-A meals sold to benefit Sophia Myers
When: 11 a.m to 1 p.m. Tuesday
Where: At your assigned pickup site at either First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall on Live Oak Avenue in Pascagoula; Mosaic Church on U.S. 90 in Ocean Springs (where they will have an additional 100 meals available on a first-come first-serve basis); and in the parking lot of Orocon Construction at 325 Reynoir St., in Biloxi.