Farewell to Sophie after five-year cancer battle
AN inspirational teenager who defied expert prognoses for five years has finally lost her battle with a rare cancer.
Courageous Sophie Ellis was told she had months to live after being diagnosed with mesothelioma – a rare form of the illness in young people.
But the former Stowmarket High School pupil spent her late teenage years bravely undergoing treatment and challenging doctors’ predictions.
Sophie’s long fight ended this week at her home in Battisford, near Needham Market, where she lived with her parents and 10-year-old sister, Lucy.
In April, the cancer spread to her spine, leaving her paralysed from the neck down, but the 18-year-old remained admirably resolute, despite being confined to her bed.
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“She coped with her illness incredibly well,” said Sophie’s mother, Lynn.
“She fought so hard and we are so grateful to have spent that extra time with her. We knew from the beginning that her illness was terminal, but nothing prepares you for when the end comes.
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“She packed more into her 18 years than some people do in a lifetime.”
Sophie found great comfort in her Christian faith throughout her battle, which included eight months of chemotherapy and two weeks of radiotherapy at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge.
A talented musician and performer, she refused to give in and continued to pursue her dream of becoming an actress – even after undergoing surgery to remove a lung and losing the use of her legs.
She was a regular with drama group Oskar Foxtrot and began to study performing arts at Suffolk College after completing her GCSEs.
But she was forced to leave after just a term because of the mesothelioma – an illness one more commonly associated with workers exposed to asbestos in which malignant cells develop in a protective lining that covers most of the body’s internal organs.
She was thought to be the only British teenager to have developed the disease in her lung in the past 30 years.
Sophie’s father, Andy, described her as a “determined, single-minded, generous and cheeky teenager who never expected any pity”.
He added: “Teenage girls can be stubborn, but I think that’s what helped get her through.”
Sophie was eager to take control of her illness and chose to administer her own injections in the last few months of her life, which she elected to spend at home.
Her funeral service, which is to be held at 2pm on Thursday, at St Peter’s and Mary’s Church in Stowmarket, promises to be a celebration of Sophie’s life and will include some of her favourite music.
Sophie, who also leaves behind two older brothers, James and Jonathan, left a touching memento for her family in the form of a video made two years before her death.
In it, she makes a poignant and memorable statement about her battle with illness.
n Sophie’s family have chosen to support the Teenage Cancer Trust in her memory. Donations are welcome and can be sent c/o Andrew Bingham, Independent Funeral Service, 17 Charles Industrial Estate, Stowmarket, Suffolk, IP14 5AH, or by calling 01449 771666.