Grieving dad's plea brings love from strange place

Daughter died at Cincinnati Children's Hospital

CINCINNATI – A grieving father took to the Internet with a simple request: Help me remember my daughter without the machines that surrounded her for her short life.

What he got in return was unexpected.

Nathen Steffel’s daughter, Sophia, was born May 30 and lived only six weeks. She died July 10 from complications from a hepatic hemangioma , a liver tumor, he wrote on Reddit .

Sophia spent part of her life at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus and was later taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital – where there were more surgeons and experts available to care for her, he said.

“She was on the waiting list for her liver when she passed from complications involving the pressure on her abdomen due to the hemangioma,” he wrote.

That’s when he went on Reddit, a social news and entertainment website where millions of strangers can communicate with each other.

Along with a photo of his daughter, he wrote :

“Photoshop Request: My daughter recently passed away after a long battle in the children's hospital. Since she was in the hospital her whole life we never were able to get a photo without all her tubes. Can someone remove the tubes from this photo?”

Nathen Steffel | Reddit

The response to the post, written this weekend, was massive.

In two days, the post has received almost 3,000 replies and dozens of edited images of Sophia, free from the burden of her tubes and hospital bed.

Here are some images Steffel received from strangers :

Courtesy Reddit

Courtesy Reddit

Courtesy Reddit

Courtesy Reddit

Courtesy Reddit

Steffel also received many friendly words from Reddit users.

One wrote: “I'm very sorry... My son is 9 months old and I couldn't sleep without at least trying.”

Another wrote: “Wow, I'm going to hug my newborn now.”

Steffel said he showed his wife some of the images, and they were both brought to tears.

“This is really amazing,” Steffel wrote. “Everyone, you have made my day. All I wanted was a nice picture. What I received was a lot of love and support from a bunch of strangers.”

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