Northern NSW’s and Herald Women’s Premier League (WPL) player, Sophie Stapleford is currently battling brain cancer and yesterday underwent brain surgery.
21 year old Sophie was part of Northern NSW development programs and represented Northern NSW at the Westfield National Youth Championships for Girls before more recently playing in the Herald WPL.
In support of Sophie and the ‘A Goal for Sophie’ fundraising efforts, NNSWF has designated Rounds 11 and 12 of the Herald WPL the ‘A Goal for Sophie’ Rounds.
NNSWF has encouraged home clubs to conduct a bucket collection to donate, you can also donate via the ‘A Goal for Sophie’ page.
NNSWF will also provide each club with grey ribbon for players to wear in their hair in support of Brain Cancer Awareness.
Additionally, Emerging Jets squads which currently participate in the Football NSW Women’s PS4 NPL will be at home at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility where bucket collections will also take place.
Sophie’s story as published on the ‘A Goal for Sophie’ Facebook Page.
Playing soccer was always something that I loved to do, as I grew older it became all I really knew from training every night to playing in competitions against other states. For 11 years I did what I loved, that’s half of my life, I never thought I would be asked to stop playing or have to stop because of some disease that I really knew nothing about. You hear about people being diagnosed with these illness’s and you really feel so saddened for them and the families that are going through it, but ultimately we never think it will happen to us and when it does it feels so surreal, none of it really makes sense and you think why me? Or why our family?
I wish it was all easy going to how I was diagnosed with this Brain Tumour but it wasn’t, for 12 month’s I struggled with excruciating headaches each day, they were particularly worse of a morning and night these headaches also made it very hard to concentrate, blurred vision, tiredness, lethargic, nauseas to the point of not being able to eat, very light headed all the time, along with those symptoms I was sick a lot. So for months on end I was at the doctors coming home with different antibiotics for a different infection each week, sinus infections, throat infections, ear infections, I thought I knew my body and I thought I couldn’t possibly be this sick all the time I was always so active and healthy.
For 12 hard months I had these symptoms but everyday I continued to go to work and fulfil my full time job that I also loved to the best of my ability even though I was struggling with these symptoms, I never really made much of a complaint about how I was really feeling I’m not sure my family even knew how bad it was until it all worsened and I knew I couldn’t just be sick it had to be something different, so back to the doctors I went, I was then sent to a specialist, for a few weeks I was mistakenly diagnosed with chronic fatigue until I was sent for a MRI, this is when I first heard I had a Brain Tumour.
For me it’s been such an emotional rollercoaster, being so positive became harder as the news worsened, but really the only thing that will help us all to get through something like this is to accept what it is and see the positive out of such a negative, it has been hard letting go of a lot of things In my life that I have loved doing, being 21 years old very sporty and active, very social and love being with my friends, it has been almost impossible for me to continue with that lifestyle. For me I wish there was more awareness or more education and knowledge of this disease for people that might not be as positive as I have been, I can’t imagine how hard it would be for people that aren’t as determined or positive to fight something that really is so emotionally and physically demanding.
If I can help anybody in the future who are or have experienced anything similar whether they’re struggling or not I think that would be the answer to my question ‘why me?’.
This is not the end of my story it is just one of those chapters that challenge you. With these words in mind “Whatever it takes” I will be back doing the things I love!