Spokane Valley resident Sophie Hawley had aspirations of becoming a pediatric nurse since she was seven years old.
Hawley, 17, took classes in the medical field and volunteered at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, where she spent time with patients on holidays to lift their spirits.
Although Hawley had congenital heart disease throughout her life, it didn’t stop her from participating in tennis and as a member of West Valley High School’s dance team.
Hawley, described by friends and family as an outgoing, kindhearted person, had her aspirations of becoming a nurse cut short when she died Dec. 20 from complications with her third open heart surgery.
“Every kid is special, but she had just a maturity beyond her years and that was just something that I loved about her,” said Chad Hawley, Sophie’s father. “She was kind to everybody, and everybody that knew her loved her.”
The Hawley family set up a scholarship fund on Facebook for aspiring nurses through the West Valley Education Foundation, established not only to honor Sophie’s memory, but to ensure that her dream of helping people lives on.
Chad Hawley said Sophie would have been a wonderful nurse.
“But, it seems like her path was much bigger,” he wrote on Facebook. “It is my hope through this scholarship, instead of creating one nurse who can help hundreds, we can create hundreds of nurses, who can help tens of thousands of people. That’s what her sacrifice was for. She always wanted to help people and this is just her way of reaching more.”
The Sophie Hawley Memorial Scholarship fund on Facebook has raised more than $32,000 since Wednesday.
“When I see the support and growth of the fund and how much money it’s raising – that gives us comfort and helps us to move forward because we know she can’t come back, but what we can do is keep her memory alive and help other kids,” Hawley said. “My dream is to have a nurse come up to me and say they are a nurse now because of the scholarship.”
A GoFundMe page was also established by the Hawley family on Thursday, which has raised $750 toward the scholarship fund.
Hawley said the loss of Sophie is incredibly painful for the family, but they are getting by through support of friends, family and the community. A memorial service was held Saturday.
“It’s the most excruciating pain you can imagine. We don’t get to do senior pictures. We don’t get to see her graduation. We miss out on so much of her life,” he said. “But, if she can help create nurses who help save lives down the road and that’s what her purpose here was for, we’ll take the pain for that as the cost.”
Sophie would have been honored and proud to help others through a scholarship fund, said Abbie Zuck, who was a close friend of Sophie’s.
“She was always that person who would do anything for anybody, even if she didn’t know them,” she said. “I think this fund is a really good way to represent how loving and sharing she was. It is awesome to see the community come together to represent what she was about.”
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