Dad's heartbreaking Internet plea spurs strangers - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Dad's heartbreaking Internet plea spurs strangers

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Steffel Family). This undated photo provided by Nathan and Emily Steffel shows their infant daughter, Sonya. (AP Photo/Steffel Family). This undated photo provided by Nathan and Emily Steffel shows their infant daughter, Sonya.
  • NationalMore>>

  • Black leaders worry about low turnout in November

    Black leaders worry about low turnout in November

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:33 PM EDT2014-07-23 01:33:25 GMT
    Civil rights leaders at the NAACP annual convention in Las Vegas on Tuesday worried that dwindling African-American turnout in November could lead to the expansion of voter-identification laws that makes it harder...More >>
    Civil rights leaders at the NAACP annual convention in Las Vegas on Tuesday worried that dwindling African-American turnout in November could lead to the expansion of voter-identification laws that make it harder for that...More >>
  • New arrest linked to gun used after Boston attacks

    New arrest linked to gun used after Boston attacks

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:31 PM EDT2014-07-23 01:31:19 GMT
    A man believed to have provided the gun used by Boston Marathon bombing suspects to kill a college police officer has been arrested on drug and weapon charges.More >>
    A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is believed to have provided the handgun used to kill a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer during the manhunt, people with knowledge of the...More >>
  • GOP voters in Georgia decide Senate nominee

    GOP voters in Georgia decide Senate nominee

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:20 PM EDT2014-07-23 01:20:59 GMT
    After a bruising nine-week runoff campaign, Georgia Republicans will finally have their Senate nominee who will compete against Democrat Michelle Nunn for a seat the GOP can ill afford to lose as the party looks to...More >>
    Early returns Tuesday suggest a long night of vote counting in a tight race for Georgia's Republican Senate nomination between U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston and businessman David Perdue.More >>
By JOHN SEEWER
Associated Press

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Just days after his infant daughter's death, Nathen Steffel asked strangers on the Internet for only one thing: He and his wife wanted a photo of their daughter without the breathing tubes and tape that masked her little face.

The response has been overwhelming.

Hundreds of photos, sketches and paintings have poured into the family's northwestern Ohio home and their inbox.

"I'm getting messages in languages from all over the world," Steffel said Wednesday. "It's more than I can count."

His daughter, Sophia, died last Thursday at a Cincinnati hospital from complications of a tumor in her liver, six weeks after she was born in Columbus. She was awaiting a transplant when she died.

Her father posted a message on Reddit asking if anyone could use their photo of Sophia in the hospital and remove the tubes attached to her face and wrist. "Since she was in the hospital her whole life we never were able to get a photo without all her tubes," he wrote.

"It started because I just wanted one picture," said Steffel, who lives in the village of Kalida with his wife, Emily, and their two sons.

He initially was not sure about posting the request online because he was worried someone might respond rudely. "I guess the best has outweighed the negative," he said.

So far, they have received thousands of messages expressing support and hundreds of photos. Someone else is sending a woven blanket with Sophia's picture.

David Valdez, who has been painting portraits for several years, made a digital painting of Sophia within a few hours of seeing her father's message.

"I was having a bad day when I saw this guy asking for a photo. I just started painting," said Valdez, a college student from New Braunfels, Texas. "It brought me some sort of sense of relief to help someone out."

Jillian Johnston, an illustrator from Mountain View, California, said she felt pulled to create her own image of Sophia. She posted it online and then woke up the next morning to a flood of compliments and several requests from other parents who lost their children in similar situations.

"I have at least a dozen more babies to paint," she said. "There are so many beautiful babies. It's heartbreaking."

Steffel said his family now has more memories of their daughter than they could have imagined, he said.

"It's kept me and my wife occupied reading all these messages," Steffel said. "Keeping our minds off things."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by WorldNow

10 Orms Street Providence, R.I. 02904
401-453-8000

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WLNE.
All Rights Reserved.

For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.