People can be awful to one another sometimes. And there’s no better example, then when online trolls decided to viciously attack a disabled girl from North Carolina because of her appearance.
Unfortunately, Sophia Weaver has passed away at the age of 10, due to complications from the brain disorder, Rett Syndrome. She passed Thursday, and her death was announced by her mother, Natalie.
The 10-year-old was at the center of a social media storm in January after an individual on Twitter chose to use her image on a poster promoting abortion.
In a Tweet on Friday, Natalie wrote, “Our #SweetSophia left this earth last night as she spent every day of her life, surrounded by love & adoration. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you donate to sophias-voice.com. Once we pull ourselves from this shattering pain we will continue to help others in her memory.”
Rett Syndrome is a condition that mostly affects girls, and is typically diagnosed between the ages of 1 and 2.
The symptoms include slowed brain growth, decline of social and language skills, trouble breathing, problems walking and using hands.
In February, her family placed Sophia in hospice care after she underwent numerous surgeries.
“This last surgery made it clear to us that Sophia’s body is tired and we always said we would listen to what her body is telling us and respect that, no matter how hard it is for us,” Weaver wrote the 20th of February.
Natalie Weaver is a well-known advocate for children with disabilities. She founded Sophia’s Voice, a non-profit which aids people suffering from chronic illnesses and disabilities so they can get their medical needs met.
In her short life, Sophia underwent more than 20 intense surgeries, had both a feeding tube and colostomy bag, and required 24 hour care.
Natalie was her young daughter’s constant defender, since her disfigurement made her a target of rude stares and hurtful comments.
In January, Natalie vocalized her criticism of Twitter’s regulations after coming across an abortion poster promotion that featured a picture of Sophia.
She reported the user @OBSIDIANSMOAK for the hateful tweet.
The reported message first read, “It is okay to think that every child matters however a lot of them do not hence the amnio test.”
The poster followed up with, “(It) should be a mandatory test and if it proves negative and the woman does not want to abort then all bills accrued after that is on her and the father.”
After she reported this, Twitter was at first reluctant to do anything about Weaver’s complaint, suggesting that there wasn’t anything wrong with the poster.
Angry, Weaver, who is the founder of Advocates for Medically Fragile Kids North Carolina, got on her own account to circulate her disapproval of how Twitter handled the matter.
She Tweeted, “@TwitterSupport Just received an email that Twitter doesn’t think a person using my child’s image as the poster child to ABORT & to weed out all the ‘defectives’ in utero is a violation. Why? Bc they won’t recognize hate toward ppl w/ disabilities in their regulations/reports.”
Her message instantly went viral after thousands of people showed their support for Weaver.
As a result of the backlash, Twitter eventually released a statement confirming their decision to suspend @OBSIDIANSMOAK’s account.
Weaver opened up on Twitter that Sophia suffers from facial deformities.
“The Hate & Stares I received when Sophia was a baby were painful & made me hide away for 7yrs,” she said back in January in a tearful video message.
She added, “I decided over a year ago to stand up & fight against this! I will not be silenced by hate! Thank you for supporting us!”
Her family was determined to helping Sophia fulfill her ‘bucket list’ experiences after she was placed in hospice care, according to a report by The News Tribune.
As a result, a local salon owner came forward and gave Sophia the green hair extensions that she wanted.
“She absolutely loved it,” Weaver told NBC’s The Today Show.
On May 16th, Weaver made the announcement that the family had been loaned an RV for a month-long adventure across America to the west. But unfortunately, on May 18th Sophia woke with a fever and she got worse as the days progressed.
We wish Sophia’s family a lot of love following their loss.