Shelby Skiles’ world came crashing down on May 17 when doctors discovered a softball-sized mass in her 2-year-old daughter Sophie’s chest. The toddler was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma, and for the past five months, she has been in and out of Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, for aggressive chemotherapy treatments.
“Even though she can’t talk right now, she’s letting us know how she feels with her super expressive eyes,” Skiles tells Us Weekly.
Since the diagnosis, Skiles has been chronicling her little girl’s journey on a Facebook page called Sophie the Brave. And one post — an open letter to pediatric nurses — recently went viral.
“I see you. I sit on this couch all day long and I see you,” Skiles began. “You try so many ways to ease her fears and win her over. I see you hesitate to stick her or pull Band-Aids off. You say ‘No owies’ and ‘I’m sorry’ more times in one day than most people say ‘thank you.’”
Skiles continued: “I see you carrying arm loads of medicine and supplies into one child’s room all while your phone is ringing in your pocket from the room of another . . . I see you sorting piles of beads so you can give them to your patient to add to their ever growing milestone necklace. I see you stroke her little bald head and tuck her covers around her tightly. I see you holding the crying mom that got bad news.”
The Dallas-based mother went on to express gratitude for the nurses who come to visit Sophie even when she isn’t their patient and for taking the time to sit with terrified parents despite their endless to-do lists.
“I see you using your phone as a template to paint the perfect cartoon character on the new kid’s window. See you cheering so enthusiastically for the kid taking laps around the nurses station,” wrote Skiles. “I see you with that Nerf gun hiding from the kid around the corner. I see you hold tiny hands, change dirty sheets, translate medical talk for parents, and wipe your eyes coming out of a particularly hard room. I see you put on gloves, masks and a gown then pause before you hang en IV bag of poison chemo for my kid.”
Skiles noted that “no amount of snack baskets or cards” could ever fully express her appreciation. “You are Jesus to us every single day,” she explained. “Our children wouldn’t get what they need without you. You save our babies and we couldn’t do this without you.”
Her post has been shared more than 25,000 times.
“The nurses and techs do at least one outstanding and selfless thing each day,” Skiles tells Us. “The ambulance drivers that rushed us to the ER in May sent us pizza at 2 a.m.”
Sophie will be transferring to Cook Children’s in Fort Worth, Texas, for a STEM cell transplant. A family member set up a GoFundMe to help with the costs of the little girl’s treatment.
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