Sophia Snyder has fought a long battle with leukemia, but her child-like spirits have kept her going through her ordeal.
The good news is that her cancer is in remission.
Jamie Snyder, a former Williamsport resident now living in Philadelphia, has been right there alongside her daughter, fighting the battles that have been a part of their lives in recent months.
Sophia, 6, and Jamie Snyder give each other a hug.
Sophia, 6, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on April 28.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, is characterized by the presence of numerous immature white blood cells (lymphocytes) in the blood and bone marrow. Lymphocytes are used in the body's defense system against infections.
ALL is the most common leukemia in children.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Fundraiser for 6-year-old Sophia Snyder
WHEN: 3 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Benji's Benjamin Ballroom, 350 Hughes St.
The disease often progresses rapidly.
The National Cancer Institute reports the prognosis for the disease is dependent upon a number of factors including:
Number of white blood cells at diagnosis.
Whether the disease has spread to the brain, spinal cord or testicles.
Changes in the chromosomes of lymphocytes.
How quickly the leukemia cell counts drop after initial treatment.
"It's been surreal," Jamie said. "Sometimes I feel like I'm dreaming. My life changed overnight. You never think it will happen to you."
It started with Sophia not feeling well one morning with what was described as flu-like symptoms.
Jamie took her daughter to the doctor "just to be safe."
"They said it was a virus, and I let it play out for a few days," Jamie recalled.
But Sophia didn't get any better.
Eventually, Jamie took her to the emergency room of a Philadelphia hospital. They tested her for mononucleosis and strep throat.
But Jamie felt something else was wrong. She couldn't figure out the bruises on her daughter's body.
Sophia eventually was referred to The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia where she was diagnosed with leukemia.
She remained there for a month to undergo chemotherapy treatments.
Fortunately, she went into remission May 31.
"She is doing OK," said Sophia's aunt, Shawn Arroyo, of Williamsport. "She recently lost all of her hair. (But) she is the most full-of-life kid."
Sophia must continue with chemotherapy for the next two years, although the number of treatments have decreased from a few a week to once a month.
Her immune system remains suppressed, so she is not yet back to school full time.
Jamie said that although chemotherapy leaves Sophia tired, she still likes to have fun.
"So she remains herself, playful and silly," she added.
At 3 p.m. Saturday, a fundraiser will be held at Benji's Benjamin Ballroom, 350 Hughes St., to help Sophia and her mother. It will include a cornhole tournament, a raffle, food and live music.
Tickets are available at Morrone's Pub, The Brickyard, Shore Auto Parts, English's Model Railroad or through Nate Mazzante at 570-916-6280.