THE spirit of a 29-year-old cancer victim will be honoured after her parents set up a new charity in her name.
Nurse Sophie Watts wanted to spend her life caring for others but her dream was shattered by a rare cancer.
Parents Jennifer and Roberts Watts said Sophie lived her life “caring for so many people” and they felt the best possible tribute to her would be to carry on her caring work.
So they are launching Sophie’s Star to raise awareness of bile duct cancer and to fund research into the disease.
“Not a lot is known about bile duct cancer, and we are very keen that, in Sophie’s memory, we raise some money to help further research into cancers that are not so prevalent,” said Mrs Watts.
This aggressive condition is diagnosed in only around 1,200 people a year in the UK.
In July last year, Sophie, from Redhill, Hereford, was one of those diagnosed.
She was working as a nurse at Hereford County Hospital, assigned to Arrow Ward, when her illness was confirmed and she needed 24/7 care when she died just under a year later at St Michael’s Hospice.
In addition to helping cancer research, the Sophie’s Star charity will raise money for St Michael’s Hospice where she was cared for.
There was no black worn at the service to celebrate Sophie’s life at Canon Pyon Church ahead of a committal service at Hereford Crematorium in July.
Family and friends wore an array of purples, pinks and blues – Sophie’s favourite colours – to mark her loss.
Sophie was educated at St Mary’s RC High School, Lugwardine, and then joined Hereford’s Martha Trust, working with youngsters with physical and learning disabilities, while she studied at Worcester University.
Over four-and-a-half years she progressed from care assistant to senior carer and then went on to graduate as a nurse.
A “dream” wedding day lay ahead for the young woman who took a delight in what her family described as ‘simple pleasures of family, friends, shopping and travelling.’ The charity will be launched at Hereford Rowing Club from 7.30pm on Friday, September 12, five days before Sophie would have turned 30.
In a response to appeals, many local businesses have already donated gifts for auction.
But Mrs Watts said there is still time to take more.
“We hope people can find it in their hearts to donate something that will contribute to us being able to make a difference to anyone else afflicted with this awful disease,” she said.
The auction is expected to be the first of several events in Sophie’s name as the charity establishes itself over the long term.
The charity can be contacted on 01432 861 183 and a contact page has been set up at www.facebook.com/SophiesStar