Life has thrown a lot at this Burnaby child. She’s still smiling

When you look at a slide show of photos from Sofia Newfeldt’s life, there are a few things that are obvious.

First, she likes stuffed animals and making crafts.

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Second, she spends a lot of time hooked up to tubes.

And, third, she has a huge smile that she flashes a lot despite behind hooked up to so many tubes.

Sofia is 11 and technically lives in Burnaby, although for most of the past year she has lived in BC Children’s Hospital more than she has lived in Burnaby. She was born with intestinal malrotation, which means her intestines do not form and rotate properly at around three months gestational age. She wasn’t diagnosed until she was six years old and, as a result, her stomach and intestines are compromised. She has had many procedures and three surgeries so far, and last year her condition got significantly worse and she had to spend seven months in BCCH. She is not yet 100-per-cent better, but is stable and was able to attend school full-time since January this past year – the first time in her life.

Life has thrown a lot at this Burnaby child. She’s still smiling_0
Sofia at BC Children's Hospital, where she spent about seven months in 2018. BC Children's Hospital photo

The Newfeldt family is sharing their story to help promote the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation Dream lottery. They want to do what they can to support a hospital that has given such great care to Sofia.

“We have spent quite some time at the hospital,” says Sofia’s mom, Meehae Song. “Last year alone, we were in the hospital for six to seven months. The doctors, nursing staff, the schoolroom, numerous volunteers and especially Child Life staff are what got Sofia and us through our daily life at the hospital. When she is in the hospital, she is often not able to eat anything and it is quite stressful with so many procedures on the body. Child Life specialists are always there by her side, talking her through procedures, engaging in medical play and just acknowledging what she is going through day in and day out.

Life has thrown a lot at this Burnaby child. She’s still smiling_2
Sofia at BC Children's Hospital, where she spent about seven months in 2018. BC Children's Hospital photo

"Last year, they also involved Sofia for the pre-operative photoshoot for Child Life. It was the first time Sofia got to go to the OR and actually look around and understand the different procedures and equipment at the OR. This helped tremendously in her dealing with the hospital and her surgeries. She also has other parents and patients come up to her and thank her for the photos that explain the procedure and she is very proud that she can help other kids understand what they need to go through.

“We never expected to be part of the hospital community when Sofia was born and after 11 years of numerous hospital visits and stays, we are forever grateful for her doctors for giving her a second chance in living a normal happy life.”

The hospital lottery includes eight grand prize packages for the winner to choose from. The largest grand prize package is worth more than $2.8 million. Visit https://bcchildren.com for more information.

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