KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Many parents and teachers take pictures of children on their first and last day of school.
But one Kansas City, Missouri, 7-year-old’s photo got more than 150,000 upvotes on Reddit, turning Sophi Eber into an internet celebrity.
“It feels amazing. I’ve always wanted to do this ever since I was a little kid,” Eber said of her newfound fame.
But it’s the little warrior’s story that turned Eber into an inspiration for thousands.
The picture she’s holding in the photo is from the first day of school, during her yearlong journey battling neuroblastoma.
There were six rounds of chemotherapy, 14 rounds of radiation, a nine-hour surgery and then immuno therapy.
“Every one of those five treatments was 30 minutes of excruciating pain,” her mother Bethany said.
Even then, with a tube in her nose in the photo, she was still smiling.
“Her fighting spirit, the way she’s handled it the entire time is remarkable, it’s truly an inspiration,” her father Zachary said.
“She would understand why she had to do it and then she would just meet it head on. There’s just so much pride in watching that process and those coping mechanisms in a 7-year-old,” her mother said.
A year later, Eber, now with a full head of hair, is cancer free.
She’s spending her summer doing all the things she loves, including painting, riding her bike and playing with her new baby brother, who was born during her treatment.
Her parents shared the now-famous photo on Reddit because they wanted to give others hope.
“Don’t give up, keep fighting it as best you can,” her father advised other parents who commented on the photo.
“With what she’s gone through, her brain and her heart and all of the things put together, she can change the world and I fully expect her to,” her mother said.
Eber is still fighting, but now she does karate and says she’d like to one day be a doctor to help children like herself.
For now, she calls herself a “Friendship Princess,” ready to give a smile or a hug no matter what someone looks like.
“I want them to know that they are special and even though they might not have things other people do they have an important part of them, they can let it shine through and be their own person,” she said.