OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The parents of Sophia Meyers, who died last year from a rare form of cancer, are making sure her memory lives on.
Sophia's dad Josh Meyers donated a bench to five-year-old's favorite park in Ocean Springs. A dedication ceremony was held Wednesday, with people from all across the coast coming out to show their love for Sophia and their support for her family.
Sophia died in October from a rare and deadly cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG.
The Little Children's Park is where Sophia Myers celebrated several birthdays. It was also one of her favorite spots.
"Sophia, I'd always ask her, 'Which park do you want to go to?' Because I liked to keep her outside," said Sophia's dad. "And she always wanted to come to this park. I'd say, 'Sophia, do you want to go to the beach?' 'No, I want to go to the children's park.'"
Josh and Angel Myers remember taking their only child to The Little Children's Park in Ocean Springs on several occasions.
"She would fish in the little creek down there in a princess dress, get muddy," recalled Angel Meyers. "She was a tomboy but she was a princess too."
Now a place that was so special to Sophia will forever have a special connection to her thanks to the donation of the bench in her honor. Several people who knew Sophia and her family showed up to help mark the occasion.
"This was her favorite place to come out and swing, enjoy the beauty of the park. So I wanted to be here for that special event," said Sophia's nurse Dana Drake. "I miss her a lot. I feel like she's one of mine, especially having a child her age. It really hurts. I couldn't imagine what Josh and Angel are going through. I miss her."
In addition to the dedication of the bench, Sen. Brice Wiggins announced a resolution passed by the legislature declaring May 17 DIPG Awareness Day in Mississippi.
"This allows Sophia's memory and all those that are suffering from DIPG to continue on," said Wiggins. "And so the dedication of the bench, that's what that's doing and that's the happiest thing is that Sophia's memory will last."
"This was actually a surprise to me," said Angel Meyers. "Josh had been working on this for a while. He wanted to honor Sophia in this way and I think he did a beautiful job with it and the city."
Sophia Mohler, who also lost her life to DIPG, has a bench dedicated to her in Ocean Springs, as well. Josh said that he and Sophia used to sit on Mohler's bench when she was alive.