Nathan Steffel's original photo of Sophia and one of the altered images sent to him by a Reddit user
Courtesy Nathan Steffel
07/16/2014 at 09:00 AM EDT
On July 10, Nathan Steffel lost his daughter Sophia, just six weeks after she was born. Sophia died of complications from a hepatic hemangioma, a type of liver tumor, and spent her brief life in hospitals connected to life-supporting machinery, reports USA Today
. Due to her condition, Steffel had no quality pictures of his baby girl without the tubes she used to help her breathe, until now.
On Saturday, hoping to find a way to fully capture Sophia's beautiful memory, the Ohio father turned to Reddit for help.
"My daughter passed away after a long battle in the children's hospital. Since she was in the hospital her whole life, we never were able to get a photo without all her tubes. Can someone remove the tubes from this photo?" Nathan Steffel wrote on the social networking site
Along with the message, the father shared the picture of Sophia below.
The response to Steffel's request is a touching reminder of the kindness of strangers, even on the Web. Shortly after posting his request, drawings, paintings and photos of Sophia altered to remove her tubes began to come in.
Steffel quickly responded to the outpouring with stunned gratitude: "This is really amazing. Everyone you have made my day. All I wanted was a nice picture. What I received was a lot of love and support from a bunch of strangers," he replied on Reddit.
Sophia's parents were aware of her health problems from the first ultrasound, according to TODAY.com
, but did not expect them to be this severe. After she was born, Sophia stayed at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and then was later moved to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, which was equipped with more liver experts. The infant was on the waiting list for a new liver when she passed away.
Steffel's story reached thousands of the users on Reddit. Those who didn't share a retouched photo of Sophia offered their heartfelt condolences and support in the comments.
“I was overwhelmed with the response I got,” Steffel told TODAY. “My wife and I were so grateful so many people took the time out of their own lives to either send a nice message of sympathy or an awesome drawing. They couldn't have made this father any happier.”