Be Loud! Sophie Foundation
The Be Loud! Sophie Foundation was founded to honor the life of Sophie Steiner, who was diagnosed with cancer as a high school freshman. Sophie received outstanding care throughout her time at UNC Hospitals, but she found there were aspects that were not tailored to adolescents and young adult patients. Well-intentioned staff brought her art carts and children’s toys, she wasn’t able to leave the floor without a lot of effort, and none of the things she wanted to keep doing – dance, yoga and photography – were easily available. With the help of her family and friends, Sophie was able to pursue many of her interests and cherish the time she had, but at the end of her life she expressed a wish to help other young cancer patients maintain their dignity, identity and independence in the face of this overwhelming illness. Her family established The Be Loud! Sophie Foundation for this purpose, named after a poem that Sophie had written, which includes the lines “Be loud / and move with grace / Explode with light / Have no Fear.”
The Be Loud! Sophie Foundation has been successful in large part because of an outpouring of community support. In addition to individual donations, many local businesses have organized fundraisers, a local music club, the Cat’s Cradle, has hosted annual benefit concerts featuring legendary local bands, and a Boy Scout troop calling themselves “Bike Loud” biked across the country to support the cause. Having worked closely with UNC Hospitals to launch the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) program in 2014, the Be Loud! Sophie Foundation funds the Program Director position and supports programming and events that are designed to help young people living with cancer be their full, inspiring and authentic selves.