Toddler Fights Cancer While Community Rallies Behind Her

Sophie May Sewell is a smart, happy, 23 month-old girl who is constantly moving.  Her mom, Whitney Sewell, works at Tibbals Elementary and recently, Sophie May has become a well-known name in Wylie, TX. That’s because Sophie May has neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that develops from nerve tissue.

A small bump had been on Sophie May’s back and, for a few months, her parents visited multiple doctors trying to figure out what the bump was. But in June, Sophie May had an MRI that suggested she had an aggressive form of neuroblastoma. The lump had grown to the size of a baseball and was in her abdominal area between her vertebra. It is possible that there may also be some of the tumor attached to her diaphragm.

Sophie May is now on a 12-to-18 month treatment plan and she is just over three months into it.  Recently, Mrs. Sewell got the results back from Sophie May’s most recent MRI and her tumor had shrunk by 78%, and Sophie’s latest surgery was successful in removing the entire tumor from her body. She got to go home, but still has to continue with healing treatments in the hospital.

As a show of support, Wylie High School offered an alternative dress day for Sophie May. Students wore jeans, shirts, hats, and were able to wear their shirts untucked. Each option cost a dollar, and the students and staff raised over $3,131 for Sophie May’s care.

Sophie May’s grandmother, Monica May, said, “The money the students raised for Sophie is so very much appreciated. It will help with with a great many expenses that go along with cancer treatment. Expenses that most people never think of.”

These expenses include meals for the family while they are at the hospital, gas for the 180-mile trip there and back, and for professional house cleaning. Sophie May’s immune system is weak after receiving several chemo treatments, and her home must be kept extra clean.

Next week, the school will deliver the donation to Sophie May and her family.

“I’m so excited about the response from [WHS] students. They obviously have a care and determination about them to get this chain reaction of kindness going,” said Principal Mr. Montgomery. “This donation will make a huge difference for this family and it just makes you feel so good about WHS and what we are about.”

Tibbals is also supporting Sophie May. They recently held a “Zumbathon” where they charged for admission. Tibbals also sells shirts and bracelets for Sophie May and the money goes to her family to help pay for her medical bills, too. Many of the teachers at Tibbals do a lot to support Sophie May’s family.

Mrs. Meeks, a teacher at Tibbals Elementary, said, “Tibbals has always had a family atmosphere amongst the teachers and staff, but never has it been more evident than when Whitney’s little girl was diagnosed with her tumor. And it isn’t just the staff that has wrapped their arms around them, but the students and their families, spreading through the whole community.”

On average, only 500 cases of neuroblastoma are reported in the US yet, ironically, the Sewell family are friends with another family whose daughter is the same age as Sophie, and she has it, too. The families are going through this together and giving support as best they can. Other people are helping too, Mrs. Meeks said, “From prayers to financial donations and fundraising, everyone is trying to do something, anything, to just be there for Sophie and her family.”

Sophie May still has a long road ahead of her; however, the Wylie community has pledged to support her along the way.

Grandmother May said, “The money is awesome but the love, the prayers, the meals, and all the support just can’t be measured and it all means so very much as well.”