River Ridge girl's battle with cancer gets boost from benefit

River Ridge girl's battle with cancer gets boost from benefit

JEFFERSON, LA (WVUE) - Sophia Larsen is only 5 years old and she loves super heroes - especially the Ninja Turtles - but her battle is with a much bigger villain: Cancer.

"You never want to hear that word," said Rachel Massa, Sophia's mother.

Massa's world changed drastically this year when Sophia had an accident on the playground. That led to an MRI and the discovery of a tumor on her spine. Doctor's decided to operate immediately.

"They took it out and three months later it grew back almost 70 percent of the size it was the first time, so she required another surgery," Massa said.

So Sophia started her fight, heading to St. Jude for proton radiation treatment, which she just completed. Now she's waiting on another MRI in October to assess her progress.

"To see her go through all these things, it's been really hard, but she has really amazed all of us and she gives us strength to get through everything we need to get through," Massa said.

Lacey Majorie, whose son, Dominic, is in his own battle against brain cancer, is all too familiar with a life of fighting pediatric cancer. It's why she created the Krewe of Dom and founded Dom Fest last year to benefit families fighting cancer.

After the 2015 event, Dominic and his namesake foundation were able to donate $15,000 to St. Jude. This year they hope to raise even more, with a quarter of the proceeds going directly to Sophia's family to help them focus on their little girl.

"Everybody thinks that because you're at St. Jude everything is paid for and when you're there everything is paid for, but you still have a life at home. That continues on no matter what and that's what can really start to weigh you down and I don't want anyone to have to worry about that," Majorie said.

Dom Fest will feature a Dat Dog-inspired hot dog making contest, fun stuff for the kids and an auction of more than 10 authentic autographed sports jerseys, donated to the Krewe of Dom from a perfect stranger.

"So now I have 10 authenticated autographed jerseys, from Magic Johnson to Wilson, I've got two soccer players," Majorie said.

There's even a signed Y.A. Tittle New York Giants jersey all on auction this weekend to raise money for the event.

For Massa, it's a gift she knows will help her keep her focus on Sophia as she continues to battle in the biggest fight of her life.

"It's nice to not have to worry about anything, but just her getting better and having the support of people, we're able to do that," Massa said.

Dom Fest kicks off at noon this Saturday at the Elk's Lodge on Cleary in Metairie and lasts until 5 p.m.

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