Sophie Moran Steiner (15) of Chapel Hill, a sophomore at East Chapel Hill High School, died peacefully Friday morning, August 30, at home surrounded by her family—her parents, Lucy and Niklaus, and her sisters, Elsa and Annabel. We are so grateful that she was home, and that many of the people closest to her were able to visit on Thursday to express their love to her.
We are saddened beyond words that Sophie’s life was too short, but, far from being a tragedy, we see her life as an incredible triumph in all the ways that matter most. The grace, courage, and quiet strength that she displayed in the past nine months were remarkable, and she heard this often. Her life was full of rich experiences, and she was proud to be a citizen of two cultures, loving the time she spent in Switzerland in the summers. She belonged to a very close-knit family, where laughter and joy persisted in the face of sorrow. She was generous to others, and she was the recipient of the best people had to offer. And most importantly, she was loved by an extraordinary and wide range of people, and she loved them in return.
Sophie wanted to raise money for the social worker on the fifth floor of UNC Children’s Hospital, who helps families cope with the enormous challenge of having a child with cancer. We were always so aware of how much support we had and our close proximity to the hospital, and Sophie worried about families who didn’t have these resources. Therefore, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the United Church of Chapel Hill (1321 Martin Luther King Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514) with a notation that they be designated to the Sophie Steiner Family Support Fund.