Sophie Rolf in Hospital.
WIGHT LIVING ON arriving at Sophie Rolf’s Totland home, I found her sitting on the sofa eating chocolates and watching cartoons on television.
With a cheeky smile, little Sophie, five, was loving the fact her elder brother Jack was away camping so she could watch her favourite programmes without interruption. Moments after I arrived, she offered the last chocolate she had left to her dad.
She did not appear to have a care in the world.
Having written a number of articles about Sophie, of Hurst Point View, I knew she had been undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy, to halt the growth of an inoperable brain tumour.
The reality is, Sophie will probably only live for another two years.
What I had not appreciated until I met her was how brave Sophie had been and how well she had coped with the treatment.
Likewise, her parents, Aaron, 39, and Gemma, 34, — two of the nicest people I have interviewed — who have shown immense strength since being told about Sophie’s tumour in June.
It all started when they noticed a tremor in Sophie’s arm.
She later complained of seeing stars and two televisions, so they pressed the hospital to bring forward an MRI scan appointment.
The bombshell that followed turned their world upside down.
Aaron said: "We just wanted to know what her odds were and now we just hope for a miracle."
On Tuesday last week, Sophie completed a six-week intensive treatment programme, which involved travelling to Southampton General Hospital five days a week for radiotherapy.
Her routine started early, to ensure she could get anti-sickness drugs into her system half an hour before taking her chemotherapy tablet at home.
She then headed to Southampton on the ferry but had to have breakfast in the car, as she could not eat for an hour after taking her morning drugs.
At the hospital, Sophie had to lie with a mask fixed to her face for around ten minutes, while the radiotherapy was carried out.
Doctors told Aaron and Gemma most adults and children had to be sedated for the treatment but Sophie just lay still without a whisper.
Aaron said: "She did not flinch, grumble or moan about it.
"She was so brave and the way she dealt with it made it much easier for us.
"The nurses said she was the easiest paediatric patient they had seen and although it was hard to see her go through it, she tolerated it so well." The radiotherapy has now finished and Sophie is having a break from chemotherapy pills, although she is still being treated fortnightly, as part of a medical trial.
She was selected at random to take part in a 12-month trial, which involves drugs being administered via a tube running through her body.
Aaron and Gemma deliberated over putting Sophie forward for the trial, aimed at inhibiting the growth of the cancer, and restricted to just 130 children in Europe and Australia.
Gemma said: "We had a 50/50 chance and a computer decided if Sophie would be chosen.
"Once we made the decision, we really wanted it.
"We thought even if it did not help Sophie, it could help other children in the future.
"We hope it gives her an added chance."
So far Sophie, a pupil at St Saviour’s Catholic Primary School, has escaped side effects, other than losing some of her hair, which should grow back after the treatment.
Her story has touched people across the Island and those further afield, who have heard about what she has gone through.
Fundraiser after fundraiser has been held and more than £20,000 has been raised, with many more events in the pipeline.
Aaron and Gemma are overwhelmed by the response and they, with Sophie, try to attend as many of the fundraisers as possible.
Gemma said: "It keeps us going.
"Obviously we are sad because of the reasons but being busy and going to the events keeps us occupied, which is better than sitting at home dwelling on things.
"It has been brilliant and we are so grateful to everyone."
The couple have used small amounts of the money to help fund some of the travelling costs to and from Southampton but they have not made any decisions about what to do with the rest.
They are keen to keep life as normal as possible, as they also have eight-year-old Jack to think about.
The money could be useful, should a revolutionary treatment become available at any time, or if equipment, such as a wheelchair, be needed at a later date.
The fundraising bug has caught up with Aaron, who plans to join colleagues from Sydenhams, where both he and Gemma work, on a sponsored cycle from Paris back to its Newport base, leaving on September 27.
Aaron said: "Sydenhams have been brilliant, they have given us the time off and been really supportive throughout."
In the meantime, the couple are just concentrating on Sophie.
Gemma said: "All she does is smile and laugh.
"She never asks for anything and she has been brilliant all the way through.
"She loves to dance, sing and play the piano in front of the family."
• For more on Sophie, plus details about fundraisers, or to make a donation, visit her website, www.kissypuppy.co.uk