Sofiya’s Story

Sofiya's mother embracing her daughter

Parents worldwide have a common bond: trying to save their children’s lives regardless of the toll it takes on them. Our Texas Medical Center, which welcomes patients from near and far, has an international reputation for treating cancer and other serious illnesses. That’s why when 3-year-old Sofiya was diagnosed with acute leukemia, her family made the trip from Russia all the way to MD Anderson Cancer Center, seeking the very best medical care.

During their time in Houston, Sofiya and her parents, Dimitri and Elena, stayed at the Ronald McDonald House. They were amazed to find such an attractive and affordable facility, home-cooked meals, and all of the family activities offered at the House. Sofiya especially likes when groups host dance parties and fashion shows so she can show everyone her moves. As a bubbly, extroverted now six-year-old, Sofiya is so happy to have other children to laugh and play with, even on days when she may not feel well. Mom, Elena, explains that when she is at the Ronald McDonald House “Sophia can play with other kids here and be a normal kid herself.”

Sofiya sings at the Ronald McDonald House
Elena finds that being with other families dealing with similar life-threatening illnesses is comforting, even though they don’t share the same language. Last year, their family experienced an American Christmas for the first time and experienced traditions like enjoying a holiday feast together and exchanging gifts. Sofiya loved all the decorations and presents. Despite the language barrier, they feel understood by the other families, volunteers and staff.

Sofiya is now doing well, and their family is hoping to return home to Moscow soon. This family, like so many others, has endured the enormous hardship of being far from home to find treatment for their child’s rare and serious illness. Please know how grateful all of them are for your support which helps provide all the comforts of home as well as transportation to and from the hospitals.