Twitter | @Nataliew1020

Sophia Weaver, Who Was Trolled For Her Disfigured Face, Dies At Age 10

Amy Pilkington 29 May 2019

The internet can be an incredible place. It's brought a whole world together, allowing for people with similar interests to meet and collaborate.

But it's also allowed people with less savory motives to gang up on others, because they believe that anonymity gives them the power to be assholes.

It's particularly terrible when they choose to focus their energy on children.

Instagram | @nataliecweaver

Sophia Weaver's story shouldn't start with the trolls, but it was hateful comments that first brought her story to the public eye.

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When Sophia was born, it was obvious that she was different.

Instagram | @nataliecweaver

She had facial deformities, as well as deformities of her hands and feet. When she turned one, she was also diagnosed with Rett syndrome, which is a neurological disorder that prevents children from developing language and motor functions.

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Still, her mom, Natalie, says that Sophia was happy and strong. She used her eyes and small noises to communicate.

Instagram | @nataliecweaver

When a proposed change to Medicaid in North Carolina could have seriously affected Sophia's care and the care of children like her, Natalie spoke out about it.

And the trolls descended.

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Many judged Sophia for her face without bothering to learn her story.

Instagram | @nataliecweaver

Others went much further, eventually leading to Sophia's picture being used in a pro-abortion message, arguing that she and children like her shouldn't be allowed to live.

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When Natalie first reported the Twitter account, she was told that it didn't violate Twitter's terms of service.

Unsplash | Sara Kurfeß

Natalie said she was "horrified to read an online comment claiming her daughter’s appearance posted a strong argument for abortion." People online had turned photos of Sophia into horrible memes.

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After Natalie asked supporters to flood Twitter with fresh reports of the tweet, they looked again.

The second look confirmed that the use of a disabled child's picture to promote a hateful message was in fact an violation.

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The event and subsequent publicity gave Natalie a platform to fight for the support of families in similar situations.

Instagram | @nataliecweaver

She's become an advocate for American healthcare and even caused Twitter to add disabilities to its hate speech reporting system.

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Natalie started the foundation Sophia's Voice.

Instagram | @nataliecweaver

Sophia's Voice is a non-profit to raise awareness and normalize facial deformities, so that no child is subjected to the hate Sophia was.

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Sadly, Sophia passed away the night of May 23, 2019. She was ten years old.

In early 2019, the family had decided to transition from constant medical intervention to hospice care, where Sophia could focus on experiences rather than recovery from yet another surgery.

On April 26, she had her 30th and final surgery.

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They began to take her on adventures, such as a trip to The Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina.

There were probably lots more planned, since they wanted to fill her remaining days with love and new things.

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Natalie wasn't going to let the trolls take away the joy of spending time with her daughter.

Instagram | @nataliecweaver

After posting this photo on Instagram, Natalie wrote, "I’m so tired of the negativity. I will not let you put a negative spin on the beautiful moments I’m having with my child as we experience her bucket list of adventures."

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"These moments are precious to me and I won’t let your negative attitudes, comments and spin on things get to me."

Instagram | @nataliecweaver

"I’ll simply block. If you are inappropriate, you make me feel uncomfortable or you are trying to debate, pick fights or just turn my posts into something they are not, I’ll block you. This is an incredibly sensitive time for me and if you can’t understand that then please unfollow me," Natalie continued.

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But, though they were hopeful that Sophia would still live for a while longer, but there was no way to be sure.

But on May 20, Natalie posted that Sophia had gotten sick suddenly, but they were hoping she could still fight it.

Sadly, her fight was over.

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Spohia's family still wants to fight for kids like her and to focus on the good, not the trolls.

In her first post since the announcement, Natalie re-shared a video from last October, in which people from around the world sent best wishes for Sophia's 10th birthday.

Rest in peace, lovely girl.

h/t: CNN

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