Dad Asks Internet to Photoshop His Baby for the Most Heartbreaking Reason
byKaitlin StanfordJul 16, 2014
Over the weekend, dad Nathan Steffel left a post on Reddit that caused everyone who read it to stand at attention.
His beloved daughter Sophia had recently passed away at just six weeks old, he wrote, and the grieving dad had one small but meaningful request he hoped a stranger could fulfill. "Since she was in the hospital her whole life, we were never able to get a photo without all her tubes," he wrote Sunday. "Can someone remove the tubes from this photo?"
Along with his request, he attached a sweet last photo of baby Sophia.
Almost immediately, heartfelt responses started pouring in, as strangers rushed in to lend Steffel their support.
"I recently had a daughter. I can't even begin to imagine your pain. You have my deepest condolences," wrote jpfarre.
Others shared their own painful experiences. "I feel for you friend," said mobius76. "My wife and I lost our first child, but we ended up going on to have three healthy daughters. You never forget though. ... Hang in there!"
The father was so touched, he could barely keep up with them all. "I stayed up until 3 a.m. that night, trying to respond to everyone who had seemed to have a similar experience," Sophia’s father told BuzzFeed.
And then, soon enough, came a flood of photos — each one showing baby Sophia's beautiful face, without and tubes or bandages in sight.
As the comments flooded in, Steffel shared more about his story. Little Sophia had suffered from a hepatic hemangioma in her liver, he said, and that while his wife and he had both known about it before her birth, they had no idea how bad it would get. Born at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, the tiny baby was moved almost immediately to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, in the hopes that the many doctors on staff who specialize in liver disorders could save her.
But sadly, the little girl passed away last week after complications arose.
In the wake of his Reddit post, Steffel has found comfort in the support and beautiful images sent to him by thousands of strangers all over the world.
"It helped knowing that others cared enough to stop whatever they were doing in their own lives to either send me a picture or just their condolences," he said. "It’s just awesome that this story and her pictures have touched so many people."
"I just wanted to reach out to get at least one quality picture," he admitted. "I was amazed how many people responded. We have so many nice pictures now."