JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The South Mississippi community is coming to terms with the loss of a beloved little girl.
Sophia Myers, 7, of Ocean Springs died October 20, 2017 after battling Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, also known as DIPG.
In an early morning Facebook post, her mother, Angel Myers, wrote:
Sophia's journey caught the attention of South Mississippi after she became the third child in Jackson County to be diagnosed with DIPG. Her parents never shied away from letting the community know how deeply they were hurt by the diagnosis.
"It's like a hole in your heart, and every day your child is slipping away and the hole gets bigger," said Josh Myers during a May 2017 interview.
Angel and Josh never gave up hope that Sophia would be cured. Sadly, that miracle never came. In March, they found out Sophia had an inoperable brain tumor.
She was a typical seven-year-old girl. She played soccer and took dance lessons. At a recent Ocean Springs fundraiser her dad talked about Sophia's love of running.
"We use to run all the races together. She's really fast, you know. Proud of her," said Josh.
Josh and Angel had to watch their beautiful baby girl lose her ability to do the things she once loved. Hoping to shrink the tumor, she was part of a clinical trial at Emory and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
Through it all, Coast residents continued to keep her uplifted, hosting fundraisers and donating proceeds from events.
"Every time we turn around someone's coming over to the house and bringing dinner, or stuffed animals for Sophia. Ocean Springs, they've been a huge help. You know, the whole Gulf Coast, they've been amazing. Really the entire country," said Josh.
Many people became familiar with Sophia's story through Facebook. A page called 'Love for Sophia' kept everyone following her journey up to date on her illness. Angel, would often use the page as somewhat of a diary, sharing intimate details and photos of the uphill battle they were facing.
Her goal was always to shine a bright light on the horrible disease that was taking over Sophia's body little by little.
"We're going to spend the rest of our lives finding out what causes it and finding a cure," said Angel.
Sophia spent her last days surrounded by beauty. After her last stint in the hospital, she was welcomed home to a big surprise. Her backyard and bedroom were transformed into a secret garden, thanks to the kindness of strangers.
It was a reflection of the impact Sophia's short life and courageous journey had on everyone near and far.