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OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) — The guest of honor’s mother wheeled her outside on Sept. 24 to find the Queen of Hearts, Alice in Wonderland and a host of family and friends waiting on the deck of Sophia’s Secret Garden.

The Cheshire Cat was perched on the limb of a massive Live oak anchoring the wonderland that friends, family and strangers created for Sophia Myers, 7-year-old daughter of Josh and Angel Myers.

Sophia, who has a terminal brain cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, might not see another November birthday. Friends and family decided to throw her a Happy Un-birthday Party.

“Once again, our family, friends and community have come together to help us make the most of Sophia’s life,” said her mother, Angel Myers. “I am so overwhelmed. I don’t even know how to begin to thank everyone who made this happen.

“To all of you, thank you with all of our hearts. To everyone reading this — please pray for Sophia. Please pray for all of the sick children. Please seek Him in all things at all times.”

Sophia, for the most part unable to speak, smiled when she saw special friends. Friends from school, dance class and Girl Scouts enjoyed playing in Sophia’s Garden, where white lights are strung in the old oak and Alice in Wonderland props accented the deck and yard.

Cindy Grefe brought her lemur and other exotic animals. She met Sophia and her family on Sophia’s 7th birthday, when Sophia was healthy and Grefe’s mobile petting zoo, Queenie’s Exotic Animals, entertained at the party.

A group of women from Lucedale prepared food and served it wearing “Love for Sophia” T-shirts because, they said, they wanted to do something to help.

Also at the party were David and Theresa Mohler, whose own daughter, Sophia, died at age 8, in September 2010, of the same rare cancer. A third Ocean Springs child, Jaxon Schoenberger, died in October 2014, just before he turned 7.

Parents want to know why three children within a 25 mile-radius have developed the rare cancer. Nobody knows what causes DIPG.

Angel Myers, a prosecutor in Jackson, George and Greene counties, assured the Mohlers: “I’ll spend the rest of my life getting to the bottom of this.”


Information from: The Sun Herald,