THE family of a toddler who died suddenly say she made them better people and inspired everyone who met her during her short life.
Sophie Hooper, who was 29-months-old, had a permanent smile despite undergoing several operations as she battled a rare form of dwarfism.
She was one of only five children in the UK and 50 worldwide with rhizomelic chonodrodysplasia punctata (RCDP) – she had extremely short arms, a hole in her heart, weak immune system, brain dysfunctionality and muscle problems.
Her father, Craig Hooper, of Taunton, said: “Sophie died at her mum’s house out of the blue.
“I cherish every moment I had with her.
“She was a bouncy, smiley, happy girl and you wouldn’t have thought there was a single thing wrong with her the way she was so loving with everyone.
“We’re all shocked and heartbroken. She touched so many people’s hearts and has left a massive mark on lots of lives.”
Sophie, who died on March 16, also leaves a mum and stepfather Steph and Ross Buckley, stepmother Sarah Hooper, half brother Jamie, four, and stepbrother Joshua-James, weight months.
“She was so loving to us all and her eyes lit up every time she saw her brothers,” added Craig.
“She was always smiling and never had a sad moment.
“She went through a lot, but never grumbled. She was perfect. She was our ‘Sweet Sophie’.
“If she could sit there with a smile on her face, then so can everyone else.
“She made us all better people and inspired so many other people.
“We knew the day was coming as her life expectancy was short. We just didn’t know it was going to be so soon.”
Sophie’s family are raising money for RhizoKids UK, which supports children with RCDP and their families – so far £500 has been donated in her memory.