In February of 2007
, Sophie Elizabeth Quayle, at age three, was diagnosed with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) - a cancerous brain tumor. This type of tumor is located in the brainstem, at the base of the brain. Affecting primarily children, it is the rarest and worst of pediatric brain tumors. Approximately 150 to 200 children are diagnosed each year. This type of tumor is considered terminal, and survival time is typically nine to twelve months following diagnosis.
Sophie's parents, Marc and Emily Quayle of Avon Lake, felt an overwhelming sense of helplessness when learning there was nothing the doctors could do to save Sophie's precious life. Sophie passed away October 6, 2007, just seven and a half months after diagnosis.
This great despair and frustration led Marc and Emily on a mission to help children and families suffering from DIPG, while raising awareness and money that will lead to a cure for this awful disease and other types of pediatric brain cancer.
So, Smiles For Sophie Forever was born. From December 2008 - December 2021, SFSF and its generous supporters held many fundraising events and gave over $1.4 million in fulfilling its three-fold mission, which since its inception was:
- - to provide financial and emotional support to families burdened by pediatric brain tumors
- - to promote a global awareness of not only pediatric brain
tumors, but also an awareness of the lack of funding allocated for
pediatric brain cancer
- research; and
- - to provide financial support to St. Jude, where Sophie was
treated, and to other viable organizations committed to the treatment
and cure of
- pediatric brain cancer.
In late 2021, the SFSF Board of Directors felt the need to broaden its efforts while continuing to keep Sophie's legacy alive and made the decision to partner with University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital of Cleveland to create the "Smiles For Sophie Forever Endowment Fund." The endowment fund will be managed by University Hospitals, with the interest accrued used to support its program for years to come. The funds "will provide financial support for the non-medical needs of brain cancer patients under the care of University Hospitals who are under the age of 18 and their families. The find may also be accessed for the support of pediatric brain cancer research and fellowship training."