What started out as a simple favor, turned into a beautiful act of Internet kindness for one dad on Reddit.
Nathen Steffel posted a photo of his infant daughter, Sophia, on the site with one request: "My daughter recently passed away after a long battle in the children's hospital. Since she was in the hospital her whole life we never were able to get a photo without all her tubes. Can someone remove the tubes from this photo?"
He explained that Sophia passed away in Cincinnati's Children's Hospital after suffering a hepatic hemangioma in her liver at just 6 weeks old.
What happened next stands as a testament that there really is good in this world. Users posted their photoshopped, painted or drawn portraits to the thread for the father to have.
Steffel loved all of the photos, but gained more than just images from the experience. "I was emotionally taken back by all the support and personal messages from families who shared a similar experience of grief," he told The Huffington Post in an email.
Seeing his daughter without all of the equipment meant a great deal to him. "Although we cherish her real photos because that's how she was," he said.
The Redditors join a growing army of good samaritans hoping to help parents like the Steffels grieve a little easier. This past May, a man up-cycled a crib into a memory bench for a mother who had a stillborn son. Lisa Grubbs, founder of NICU Helping Hands, turns old wedding dresses into "Angel Gowns." The organization "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" provides free portraits to families who suffered through the loss of a baby.
Those gifts go a long way, especially for Steffel. He posted his gratitude on the Reddit thread:
This is really amazing. Everyone you have made my day. All I wanted was a nice picture. What I received was a lot of love and support from a bunch of strangers. A long with a lot of great photos, drawings and paintings. Thanks everyone!
He and his wife plan to hang up a few of their favorites.
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