February 17 was not a typical day at the hospital for nurse Jolene Hathaway. Her friend Jodi Vlasman had given her an important task – deliver a gift basket to the first baby born that day.
Why? Because Feb. 17 is Sophia Vlasman’s birthday. Sophia, Jodi’s teenage daughter, passed away last summer after a lengthy battle with cancer.
The popular UCC student touched the hearts of so many Chatham-Kent residents as she remained so upbeat during her cancer journey.
Her mother believed it was important to donate the basket in Sophia’s memory.
“This very special gift is in honour of my beloved daughter, Sophia Elizabeth Vlasman, who passed away this past June 6,” Jodi said in a media release of her daughter, who would have turned 17 on Feb. 17. “The items in the gift reflect Sophia, and were chosen with love. We are celebrating her life and we will be reminded of the incredible joy she brought to us for the last 17 years.”
Jolene said she was touched when Jodi reached out to her.
“It was awesome, such a nice idea for her to do. About a month ago, she asked me if I would do it. I was honoured,” she said. “It’s very thoughtful. She wanted everyone to remember Sophia, who was such an inspiring person.”
Jolene said the basket contained items for a baby girl, including clothes, books, blankets and little shoes.
“Jodi said it contained all things Sophia would have liked,” she said.
Jolene was scheduled to be on the women and children floor as the clock struck midnight to ring in Feb. 17. She went to work with fingers crossed.
“We have babies born at the hospital pretty much every day. I just hoped there was a baby girl born that day,” she said. “I was on shift, and as soon as midnight came, I was like, ‘I hope it happens.’”
Before she knew it, her wish was granted. Rylie Osborne came into the world to parents Brad and Rachel.
“It was like Sophia’s spirit had come through, because it happened just 19 minutes after midnight,” Jolene said.
The parents, according to Jolene, really appreciated the basket.
“When I went in there, they were so touched. They had seen the UCC “Roar” video (the high school’s student body had done for Sophia) and heard about Sophia through social media,” she said.