Sofia recovers 
after open heart surgery

Sofia Parke.
Sofia Parke.

A Derry baby who has undergone major open heart surgery has been described as a “little fighter” by her father.

Stephen Darius was speaking yesterday as his brave daughter, six-week-old Sofia Parke, was transferred back to Altnagelvin Hospital after undergoing surgery in Birmingham.

Community groups in Derry had rallied round to offer support to Sofia’s parents when the critically ill tot was rushed to England for the procedure on August 28. She’s since been through open heart surgery and surgery on her liver in her six weeks in the world.

“It’s been very tough because we’ve been between Derry, Belfast and Birmingham and we haven’t ever had a chance to bring Sofia home,” says Stephen. “We know she’ll need another two operations in her life, one when she’s a year old and another one later on depending on how her body develops. The main thing is that she is a fighter, and she’s doing well at the moment.”

Stephen thanked those in Derry who, in recent weeks, have rallied to help support the family.

“We were obviously in England but we were hearing all about what was happening back here and we’re so grateful to everyone who helped and sent us good wishes.

Stephen and his partner Bronagh say they now want to give something back, especially to the Ronald McDonald foundation which provided a place for them to stay when Sofia was having her treatment.

“We want to give something back because it made such a difference to us having that facility over there.”

Stephen’s dad Roy Schulberg has organised a Night at the Races at Icon Bar and Restaurant on Friday September 26.

“We’d like to invite people to come along on the night and have some fun and in the process help us to give something back for all the support we’ve had for Sofia. The night kicks off at 9pm with live music and a buffet so it promises to be a great evening for everyone.”