Community rallies around cancer patient
For someone battling cancer, being surrounded by supportive friends and family is important to coping with treatment.
But 6-year-old Sophie Ranit is doing so with a lot of help from the community and a bit of magic from unicorns.
Sophie was diagnosed with undifferentiated soft tissue sarcoma in her buttocks and lungs in March. She receives treatment at Oregon Health and Science University's Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland. She recently finished undergoing radiation treatment, receives chemotherapy every three weeks and will have surgery in the future.
To help defray the cost of medical expenses and lost wages — Sophie's mother, Amanda, has been working fewer hours to be with her daughter during treatment — there have been several fundraisers in Estacada for Sophie and her family.
At their annual Memorial Day Breakfast on Monday, May 28, the American Legion Carl Douglas Post donated a portion of the proceeds to Sophie and delivered them to her at OHSU the following week.
There will be another fundraiser for Sophie on Friday, June 15, at the Viewpoint Restaurant and Lounge, 20189 S. Springwater Road. Beginning at 8 p.m. there will be drawings for several themed baskets, a 50/50 raffle and western line dancing as the Mike Walton Band plays country music.
Though the Ranits live in Damascus, Sophie's grandmother Dana lives in Estacada. The family is grateful for the community's support.
"My mom has many connections in the community," Amanda said. "It's been really nice. It's interesting that people who don't even know us are willing to help out. The community has definitely come around to help."
Sophie turned 6 on Monday, June 4, and celebrated at OHSU. Her room was filled with bright decorations and unicorn accessories, and she and the other patients on the hospital floor enjoyed pizza and cupcakes.
Additionally, the band Damien came to play her favorite song, "Scars to your Beautiful" by Alessia Cara.
"They learned the song just for her," Amanda said.
Sophie likes to go fishing and have dance parties in her free time. She attends Springwater Charter School, where she enjoys gardening and art.
She said she would tell other children who have to undergo similar medical challenges about the unicorns she's encountered at the hospital.
"After my first surgery in my whole life, a unicorn came and I got to adopt a unicorn," Sophie said. "(Before the surgery), I had to wear a mask because the unicorns were farting and it makes you fall asleep."
The tradition at OHSU is similar to the holiday game Elf on the Shelf, Amanda noted. The story goes that patients are unable to see the unicorns, which causes the creatures to retain their magic.
In the future, Sophie hopes to travel to Scotland, where the national animal is a unicorn.