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Sophie’s Story

Originally from Dublin, Steve Bernes now lives in Craigavon and has 3 teenage daughters, Kaylagh, Lauren and Sophie. In August 2020, Sophie was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis and the family were supported by Cancer Fund for Children.

3 years later, with treatment complete and Sophie cancer free, Steve is cycling from Malin to Mizen to raise vital funds so we can be there to support families like his.

Sophie has always been tough. She has a big personality and doesn’t take any nonsense, but she also has a really big heart. She loves horse-riding and taking care of horses and does showjumping as well.

A few years ago Sophie started getting headaches and struggled with double vision so we took her to get her eyes tested. She could read everything and all the tests came back clear so we put it down to screen time but 2 weeks later the symptoms were still going.

We took her to the doctor who gave her another eye test and this time she couldn’t even read halfway down the chart. In the space of 2 weeks her vision had deteriorated that much and the tests showed she was losing her peripheral vision as well.

They did more tests and found a growth behind her right eye which was wrapped around the nerves so they couldn’t operate. We had to wait for another 2 weeks for the biopsy results and it was the longest 2 weeks ever.

The results came back as Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis, and we were so relieved to hear that it was non-life threatening.

Sophie was treated with chemotherapy and steroids and she had a few ups and downs during this time. She was tired and her mood was up and down and she hated having to fast during treatment but overall she coped really well.

Daisy Lodge helped bring our daughters back together

We spent time in Daisy Lodge during our experience. Sophie went on her own a few times, then with her sisters and we had weekend trips for the whole family, one with the girls and their mum and one with the girls and my wife and son.

It’s a brilliant set up and we loved our time there. The girls made friends and it helped bring our daughters back together as Kaylagh and Lauren did feel a bit left out when Sophie was going through treatment. They were able to enjoy some therapeutic treatments and take part in art therapy workshops.

The staff were amazing and they spent the whole weekend making sure everyone enjoyed themselves. There was always something to do and the food was amazing. You can definitely see why so many families get so much out of it.

That’s why I decided to take on this challenge.

From Sunday 13th – Saturday 19th August I will be cycling from Malin Head in Donegal to Mizen in Cork to raise money for Cancer Fund for Children.

I know there are going to be tough days but I’m ready for it. There’s no backing out now.

You can support Steve’s challenge today by visiting his Just Giving page, https://www.justgiving.com/team/MalinToMizen23?invite=true.