Saturday, July 7, 2007

Sophie's Journey

Sophie’s Journey
Author: Sally Collings
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

Sophie Delezio is a little girl with a remarkable story. Badly disfigured in two accidents, she is a true life example of strength, determination and triumph of the human spirit. Sally Collings brings together this incredible story in the book Sophie’s Journey.

Ten days before Christmas 2003, a car careened through the wall of the day care centre bedroom where Sophie and twelve other children were taking their afternoon nap. The car burst into flames and two and a half year old Sophie lay trapped face down underneath. The flames engulfed her and she suffered severe third degree burns to 85 percent of her body.

Sophie was not expected to live. Her disfigurement and burns were extensive; her feet, some fingers and right ear were amputated. She underwent scores of surgical procedures. She clung tenaciously to life and slowly, painfully, began to improve; to show her bravery and fighting spirit.

After months of hospital recovery time, Sophie returns home to her family. The Delezio family begin to rebuild their lives fractured by this traumatic event to their little girl and little sister.

Then two years later, the unthinkable happens. Sophie is again critically injured – this time when her pushchair is struck by a motor vehicle which failed to stop at a pedestrian crossing. Sophie’s life once more hangs in the balance.
But if there is one thing that those around her have already learnt, it is that Sophie is a brave, determined young girl. With strength and bravery that astounded medical professionals, friends and family alike, once more Sophie pulled through despite the odds being firmly stacked against her. Again, Sophie was able to return home to resume normal family life.

The story is told piece by piece by the many people involved with Sophie’s care. Nursing staff, doctors, play therapists, physiotherapists, family, friends – all these people talk of their experiences in healing Sophie and the impact this much damaged but very spirited little girl has had on their own lives.

Emotionally it is not an easy read. Sophie’s injuries are heart wrenching to read in detail, as is the grief and despair her family face through each accident. But it is also an incredibly heart-warming story. The faith, love and high level of care and expertise poured into her recovery is truly inspirational.

Sally Collings compiled the story, Sophie’s Journey, of this courageous and brave little girl who captured the hearts of thousands of Australians with her fight to survive against incredible odds. I have no doubt that through this book she will capture New Zealand reader’s hearts too.

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