Internet users help grieving dad - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Internet users help grieving dad

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The father of a six-week-old baby girl from Putnam County posted a picture and made a request on social media after she died: “Can someone remove the tubes from this photo?”

The story is going viral after hundreds of tech-savvy people across the country answer the call to help give a Northwest Ohio family a special memory.

The Steffel family lives in the Village of Kalida in Putnam County which is about 30 miles west of Findlay.

13abc’s Christine Long reports from Kalida with a story about the kindness of strangers.

This small community is shocked and touched by the overwhelming response on social media to a simple Photoshop request from Sophia's grieving father.

Six-week-old Sophia Steffel died last week of a complication from a liver tumor, according to family friend Devan Von Sossan.

"They knew, I think, from the first ultrasound that there was a mass in her and that something was going to be wrong,” says Von Sossan.

After his little girl died, Sophia’s father Nathen Steffel posted a picture on the website Reddit with a photoshop 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?”

What happened next left Sophia’s family overwhelmed and grateful.

Users of the Internet site took the time to carefully re-touch and enhance the photo.  They took out the tubes.

Hundreds of people posted the new pictures, even sketches and paintings to help heal the Steffel’s pain.

"Totally surprised that this has got this much of a reaction,” says Von Sossan.

Von Sossan, a stylist at Rachel’s Hair on the Square in Kalida, says Nathen and Emily Steffel are staying strong.

"I just love how complete and total strangers did something so nice to help them out to give them a beautiful way to remember their daughter in such a sad time,” says Von Sossan.

Across the street, the owner of Upton Interior Designs says everyone in the village of about 1,500 people knows about Sophia’s struggle, but she never thought people across the country would work so hard to give priceless gifts.

"It touched my heart,” says Sandy Westrick, the owner of Upton Interior Designs.” I just couldn't believe how generous and thoughtful and kind and giving those strangers were."

Sophia’s father Nathen posted a Thank You message on Reddit.  He wrote, “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.”

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