A Boxful of Love and Comfort

Community News & Features Jun 8, 2018 at 3:45 pm
Sophia with a Love Box.                    Photo: Josie Cipriano Photography

Sophia with a Love Box.
Photo: Josie Cipriano Photography

The Super Sophia Project:

By Irish Mae Silvestre
The Philippine Reporter

A mother and daughter project that aims to help Ontario families battling childhood cancer is now turning its attention to families in the Philippines with an upcoming fundraising event on June 24.

Launched in 2012, The Super Sophia Project was born out of Nicolle Georgiev’s own experience when daughter Sophia was diagnosed with leukemia one month shy of her second birthday.

“Cancer affects you physically, emotionally and spiritually,” said Nicolle, the founder and a mother of two

Nicolle and Sophia.  Photo: Josie Cipriano Photography

Nicolle and Sophia.
Photo: Josie Cipriano Photography

Sophia’s treatment, which was a little over two years long, was extremely difficult but, through it all, the family stayed positive. “We never stopped believing,” said Nicolle. “Miracles happen every day.”

On Sophia’s second birthday, Nicolle said they made her a pair of hospital scrubs for her doctor visits. “They were so well-received by fellow cancer patients that we began to make them for other children,” said Nicolle. “To date, we’ve donated over 600 pairs of Super Sophia scrubs.”

It’s been four years since Sophia and her family celebrated the end of her treatment – she’s been cancer-free since July 2014. Today, Sophia is an active seven-year-old. She’s currently in the second grade and, when asked about her hobbies, she said that she likes “singing, playing basketball and doing cartwheels.”

“Sophia is wonderful,” said Nicolle. “She’s smart, beautiful, funny, compassionate and courageous – she inspires me to be a better person.”

Sophia with a Love Box.  Photo: Josie Cipriano Photography

Sophia with a Love Box.
Photo: Josie Cipriano Photography

The idea for The Super Sophia Project came to Nicolle in the midst of all the hospital visits. “It was my idea as a way to help me cope with her cancer journey,” she explained.

The project has touched the lives of families affected by cancer in various ways and has distributed 4,000 boxes packed with items to bring comfort to young children and adolescents battling cancer and non-life-threatening diseases.

Children receive Super Sophia scrubs or Love Boxes. For example, a Love Box for girls between the ages of five to seven might contain a Barbie, coloring books, crayons, socks, stickers or crafts. Teens might receive make-up, gift cards, magazines, books, journals, reusable water bottles, headphones or selfie sticks. Not forgetting the little ones, Nicolle says that the (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) NICU Boxes are extra special. They include baby items and things “to comfort the parents.” Recently, they delivered nearly 100 boxes during Christmas at the NICU at Sunnybrook Hospital.

Nicolle said that she’s grateful to their volunteers and the community for their donations and for supporting fundraising events such as Paint Night and An Afternoon of Hope.

“We make children happy when they’re in the hospital,” said Sophia. “The children are so nice. I want them to know they can beat cancer like I did.”
Nicolle added, “There’s truly nothing more heart-warming than meeting the children in person.”

As for the parents, she said that they cry together and talk about their experiences. “It’s very comforting to be able to share our similar experiences and to let them know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

So when a father from the Philippines reached out via Instagram to tell Nicolle about his little girl, Rejoice, who was battling leukemia she knew she wanted to help. “Parents request Love Boxes and we do everything in our power to provide them with one,” she said.

Paint-Event-FundraisingAs a result, The Super Sophia Project is hosting a paint night fundraiser with 100 percent of the funds going towards the Love Boxes for the year. The paint event, to be conducted by Lala Garcia of Art2Go, will be held June 24 in Pickering (see boxed info for details.)

Since the inspiration for this paint night is for a littel girl from the Philipines batling leukemia, organizers are calling on everyone, Filipinos and other cultures alike to help support this project. This is the third time the Art2Go has conducted an event for Super Sophia Project – the first two being immersely successful.

During the event, participants can paint along with art instructors, while enjoying snacks and refreshments. The project will also be organizing a toy drive for Michael Garron Hospital and Lakeridge Health to replenish their stock of Love Boxes.

“Our journey has connected us with so many beautiful and amazing people,” said Nicolle. “It’s such a blessing to be able to do what we do.”

Sophia

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3 Photos grabbed from Facebook

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