CANTON, Ohio — We received an email a few weeks ago from a special young lady's grandmother. In it, she says of her granddaughter, 14-year-old Sophia Montgomery:
"All she really wants to do is bring a smile to children's faces who are already feeling sad and unwell."
It was clear right away: Sophia, of Canton, is extraordinary.
"A few years ago, I went into heart failure," Sophia told 3News. "That was the summer that I decided to do the toy drive."
You see, in her young life, Sophia has seen many nights in the hospital. She was diagnosed with multiple heart issues, including pulmonary artesia. Before she was even born, doctors didn't think she had a chance.
"And I said, 'Well, I'll fight as long as she's going to fight,' her mother Angie said. "And here we are."
Sophia's had several surgeries, and at just 11 years old, her heart began to fail.
"There was some issue with her pacemaker that was putting her into heart failure," Angie recalled.
But instead of feeling sorry for herself, Sophia thought of other kids at Akron Children's Hospital, who would spend holidays away from home.
"I wanted to help make the hospital stay a little easier, because when I was put in the hospital over the summer, we weren't expecting to be in the hospital," she remembered. "We were expecting to get to the doctors and then come back home."
Thankfully, she eventually did come home, but with so many others still there, she launched Sophie's Stocking Stuffers, getting those kids everything they needed.
"I told my principal about it and he said something over the announcements," Sophia said.
"From there, it just kind of took off," Angie added. "Social media was a big part of it, just to get the word out. I think it went further than I really thought it would."
It's Sophia's fourth year doing Sophie's Stocking Stuffers, and just like in years past, she's gathered every item on the list and more.
To contribute to Sophie's Stocking Stuffers, click HERE.